Using Molecular ‘On/Off Switches’ for CAR T-Cell Immunotherapies
- Kite to License Cell Design Labs’ Synthetic Biology Technology for Applications in Acute Myeloid Leukemia with Exclusive Option for Applications in B-cell Malignancies
- Cell Design Labs’ Reversible ‘On/Off Switch’ Technology Provides Dynamic Range of Control to Precisely Regulate Activity of Engineered CAR T-Cells
- Collaboration Highlights Kite’s Commitment to Access First-in-Class Technologies for Next Generation Engineered CAR T-Cell Therapies
SANTA MONICA, Calif. and SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. June 2, 2016 –
Kite Pharma, Inc. (NASDAQ: KITE) (“Kite”) and Cell Design Labs, Inc. today announced a research collaboration and license agreement to develop next generation, precision-controlled chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) product candidates that incorporate Cell Design Labs’ molecular “on/off switch” technology.
The use of CARs to redirect T-cells against B-cell malignancies has shown promise as a powerful tool to eradicate cancers. The switch technology employs small molecule-mediated protein dimerization domains to functionally activate the CAR and, similarly, to turn “off” the CAR in the absence of the small molecule. By incorporating “on/off switches” into next generation CAR products, physicians will have the potential to rapidly control and reversibly titrate the activity of CAR T-cells.
Under the agreement, Cell Design Labs will develop “on/off switches” for Kite’s CAR T-cell pipeline. Kite will receive exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize CAR T-cell therapies containing Cell Design Labs’ “on/off switches” directed to certain targets for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Kite also has the exclusive option to develop and commercialize CAR T-cell products containing “on/off switches” directed to certain targets for the treatment of B-cell malignancies.
“Cell Design Labs was established to deploy exciting advances in synthetic biology to build and control cell signaling networks through our “on/off switch” technology,” said Brian Atwood, Co-founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Cell Design Labs. “Our platform takes advantage of the modular design of CARs that we believe will create a next generation of CARs whose activation can be titrated or switched on and off by using small molecules that are clinically available. We look forward to working with Kite, a company whose deep understanding of CAR T-cell biology and manufacturing has already generated advanced clinical programs for cancer patients.”
“Kite remains highly focused on accessing important technologies that could augment the activity and/or improve the safety of our engineered T-cell therapy candidates,” said Arie Belldegrun, M.D., FACS, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Kite. “Cell Design Labs has developed an elegant approach to designing CARs. Our collaboration with Cell Design Labs exemplifies Kite’s commitment to bringing the next generation CAR T-cell immunotherapies to patients.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Kite will pay Cell Design Labs an upfront payment and additional payments to support Cell Design Labs’ research. Cell Design Labs will be eligible to receive milestone payments based upon the successful achievement of pre-specified research, clinical, regulatory and commercial milestones, as well as tiered royalties on product sales. Kite has increased its equity investment in Cell Design Labs as part of Cell Design Labs’ recent private financings. Arie Belldegrun will
join the Board of Directors of Cell Design Labs and David Chang, M.D., Ph.D., Executive Vice President, Research & Development, and Chief Medical Officer of Kite, will join as a Board Observer.
About Kite Pharma, Inc.
Kite Pharma, Inc. is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company engaged in the development of novel cancer immunotherapy products, with a primary focus on engineered autologous cell therapy (eACT™) designed to restore the immune system’s ability to recognize and eradicate tumors. Kite is based in Santa Monica, CA. For more information on Kite Pharma, please visit www.kitepharma.com. Sign up to follow @KitePharma on Twitter at www.twitter.com/kitepharma.
About Cell Design Labs, Inc.
Cell Design Labs is a biotherapeutics company pioneering breakthrough science to develop disruptive cell-based therapies for cancer and other devastating diseases. Based on innovative research from Dr. Wendell Lim’s lab at the University of California, San Francisco, Cell Design Labs leverages the power of the body’s immune system to develop smart, living therapies with the capability to treat our most challenging diseases with unprecedented power, precision, safety and durability. Using its proprietary technology platform for custom cell engineering, Cell Design Labs will develop its own portfolio of anti- cancer therapies as well as create partnerships with leading oncology companies. Initially focused on cancer, including both hematologic and solid tumors, this broad technology may also have applications in other complex diseases such as autoimmune and degenerative disorders. To learn more about Cell Design Labs, please visit our website at: www.celldesignlabs.com.
Kite Pharma, Inc. Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements for purposes of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The press release may, in some cases, use terms such as “predicts,” “believes,” “potential,” “proposed,” “continue,” “estimates,” “anticipates,” “expects,” “plans,” “intends,” “may,” “could,” “might,” “will,” “should” or other words that convey uncertainty of future events or outcomes to identify these forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements include statements regarding intentions, beliefs, projections, outlook, analyses or current expectations concerning, among other things: the ability to research and develop CAR product candidates with Cell Design Labs’ “on/off switch” technology; the success of such product candidates and the ability to control the activity of such product candidates; and the ability to advance Kite’s pipeline through new technologies. Various factors may cause differences between Kite’s expectations and actual results as discussed in greater detail in Kite’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including without limitation in its Form 10-Q filed with the SEC on May 9, 2016. Any forward-looking statements that are made in this press release speak only as of the date of this press release. Kite assumes no obligation to update the forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, after the date of this press release.
Kite Pharma Contacts:
VP, Investor Relations
Anne Cummings 212-845-5632
Cell Design Labs Contact:
Brian Atwood 415-634-5955