Kite inks Chinese JV and Japanese partnership for lead T Cell candidate

By Staff Reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Image: iStock/daboost
Image: iStock/daboost
Kite Pharma has formed a joint venture with Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Industrial Development Company to develop and manufacture its cell therapy axicabtagene ciloleucel in the Chinese market.

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.”

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