The deal, announced in an SEC filing this morning, will see Kite and Fosun own an equal share in a new company dedicated to bringing the cell therapy – known as KTE-C19 (axicabtagene ciloleucel) – to China.
The candidate is an autologous chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, meaning it is made using a patient’s own modified cells, in development to treat chemorefractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL).
It is made over six to eight days using Kite’s proprietary genetic engineering technology in which a the cells are re-engineered to seek and selectively destroy cancer cells while leaving normal cells unharmed.
The modified cells are then frozen and shipped back to the patient where they are re-infused into the patient.
Kite will enter into a Technology License Agreement and a Product and Know-How License Agreement with the JV which is set to hold an exclusive license to manufacture, develop and commercialise KTE-C19 in the China Market.
Under terms of the deal, the JV – funded by Fosun – will pay Kite $40m upfront, though the California-based biotech could be entitled to a further $35m from regulatory and commercial milestones.
KTE-C19 in Japan
The news comes a day after Kite struck a development and commercialisation deal with Daiichi Sankyo for axicabtagene ciloleucel in Japan.
Daiichi Sankyo will make an upfront payment of $50m, with Kite eligible to receive future payments of up to $200m.
“We have a strategic roadmap to commercialize axicabtagene ciloleucel globally while focusing Kite’s development and commercialization efforts in the United States and Europe,” said Kite’s CEO Arie Belldegrun.
“Daiichi Sankyo’s commitment to bring autologous T-cell therapy to patients in Japan will complement our strategy and demonstrates the significant value in our pipeline, as well as the commercial potential for autologous T-cell therapy globally.”