Gilead’s kite makes standard play with Shoreline Biosciences’ CAR-NK deal worth $ 2.3 billion
Gilead Sciences’ Kite Pharma unit has made a name for itself by developing autologous CAR-T treatments made from a patient’s own cells. Now the subsidiary is playing another big role in standard treatments that can be developed faster under a deal with Shoreline Biosciences that could exceed $ 2.3 billion.
The partners will work on CAR targets for natural killer (NK) cell therapies for blood cancers, but Kite has the option to add a CAR-macrophage program to the agreement, the companies said in a statement Thursday. Macrophages are a type of immune cell that detects, engulfs, and destroys pathogens.
Under the deal, Shoreline receives an undisclosed upfront payment and is expected to receive more than $ 2.3 billion in additional payments if certain development and business goals are met. The partnership comes two months after Kite entered Shoreline’s $ 43 million Series A.
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Autologous CAR-T therapies, like Kite’s Yescarta and Tecartus, are made from a patient’s own cells, so they can be complex and time consuming to make. Some patients with advanced cancer just don’t have much time, while others may not have enough T cells or high enough quality T cells to perform these treatments. Shoreline’s solution is to make its NK cell and macrophage treatments from induced pluripotent stem cells, a renewable source of genetically identical cells.
“As a leader in cell therapy, we are focused on investing and realizing the most promising opportunities to further optimize the therapeutic potential of cell therapy,” said Mert Aktar, vice president of development and corporate strategy at Kite, in the press release. “We are excited about the potential of Shoreline’s next-generation approach to allogeneic development and how our collaboration can accelerate this research in different leukemias and lymphomas. “
And Kite isn’t the only company offering next-generation treatments.
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Allogene, an allogeneic cell therapy company created by a pair of Kite alums, is also working on stem cell treatments. Biotechnology began by developing ready-to-use treatments based on mature donor T cells, then partnered with Notch Therapeutics on T stem cell treatments for multiple myeloma, leukemia and non-lymphoma. Hodgkin’s.
Companies such as Nkarta Therapeutics and Catamaran Bio are working on NK cell therapies to address several key shortcomings of autologous CAR-Ts, including their limited ability to reach solid tumors. Carisma Therapeutics is developing macrophage cell therapies to do the same.