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Kite and Oxford BioTherapeutics sign oncology research pact

Agreement will focus on five novel drug targets across a range of indications

Kite, a Gilead Company, has signed a research collaboration agreement with Oxford BioTherapeutics (OBT) focused on developing novel targets in a range of oncology indications.

The collaboration is set to evaluate five novel targets for a number of haematologic and solid tumour indications, according to a press release issued yesterday.

The novel drug targets, already identified using OBT’s OGAP discovery platform, will be validated by the Oxford, UK-based oncology specialist as part of the Kite collaboration.

Under the terms of the deal, OBT will receive an undisclosed upfront payment, as well as potential additional payments based on the achievement of pre-specified discovery, clinical and regulatory milestones. In addition, OBT will be eligible to receive royalties on future potential sales.

As part of the agreement, Kite and Gilead will obtain an exclusive right to develop and commercialise any therapies resulting from the collaboration based on the specified targets or antibodies.

“Selecting the right target is fundamental for the successful development of first-in-class cell therapies. OBT’s state-of-the-art platforms have refined this approach to address difficult-to-treat cancers,” said Christian Rohlff, chief executive officer of OBT.

“This has resulted in several candidates entering clinical development either by OBT or its development partners. We are delighted that Kite, the global leader in cell therapy, has recognised the potential of OBT’s OGAP discovery platform and antibody capabilities through this partnership,” he added.

In 2017, Gilead paid $11.9bn to acquire Kite and its pipeline of chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T) therapies.

The main focus of that deal was Kite’s Yescarta (axicabtagene ciloleucel), the company’s first CAR-T therapy, which was approved in October 2017 for the treatment of adults with relapsed or refractory B-cell lymphoma after two or more lines of systemic therapy.

Yescarta was joined by Kite’s second CAR-T therapy Tecartus (brexucabtagene autoleucel) in July 2020, which is approved for the treatment of adults patients with relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma.

In Gilead’s recent third quarter results, the combined cell therapy products brought in $444m in the first nine months of the year.

Gilead decided to separate Kite into a separate business unit in May 2019, after the company’s first CAR-T therapy Yescarta fell a little short of analyst expectations following its initial approval.

The separation allowed Gilead to focus on its other oncology projects and programmes – which now include its most recent oncology buyout of Immunomedics for $12bn.

As part of that deal, Gilead gained rights to Immunomedics antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) Trodelvy (sacituzumab govitecan-hziy), which was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in April for the treatment of metastatic triple-negative breast cancer (mTNBC). Immunomedics is also seeking approval in the EU for Trodelvy in the first half of 2021.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

7th January 2021

From: Sales

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