The deal – financial terms of which were not disclosed – will see Santa Monica-based Kite use the tech – known as the artificial thymic organoid (ATO) cell culture system - to manufacture the T lymphocytes for cell therapy products.
The idea is that culturing the cells in conditions matching those in the thymus – the organ where T cells mature – will make the process more efficient, scalable and reproducible.
The license is an exclusive worldwide agreement.
The technology will drive Kite’s long term allogenic T cell development strategy according to chief medical officer (CMO), David Chang.
Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-cells are based on T-cells taken from patients and engineered to target and destroy cancer cells.
Kite claims it can harvest the immune cells from patients, modify them and reintroduce them in 14 days.
"This platform provides a renewable source of T-cells and can be further exploited with gene engineering… to generate potent T-cell products that have the potential to be resistant to rejection and to bear no risk of graft-versus-host disease."
The license with UCL comes less than a month after Kite opened a T-cell manufacturing facility in El Segundo, California.
The facility will produce the firm’s lead candidate KTE-C19, a treatment for chemo-refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) which is in Phase II studies.
It will also produce supplies of Kite's other pipeline cell therapies for clinical trials.