- Gilead Sciences' Kite Pharma and Gadeta announced Thursday an agreement to collaborate on the development of novel gamma delta TCR therapies for a variety of cancers.
- Kite will provide R&D funding, and Gadeta will receive payments upon achievement of agreed-upon regulatory milestones.
- As part of the agreement, Kite will purchase equity for Gadeta’s shareholders and when certain regulatory milestones are achieved, Kite will have the option to purchase additional equity. Kite will also have the exclusive option to acquire Gadeta.
Kite is known for developing the chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy Yescarta (axicabtagene ciloleucel), that Gilead picked up in August 2017 for $12 billion just prior to it gaining approval from the Food and Drug Administration.
While the therapy has been slow to gain commercial traction, Gilead has been trying to beef up its cell therapy capabilities, and acquire assets that can complement Kite's own expertise. In December, Gilead made another acquisition in the space, paying $175 million upfront and potentially as much as $567 million to acquire California-based Cell Design Labs. The pre-clinical company has technology that can engineer and modulate CAR-T cells.
The deal further strengthens that position. Gadeta has a technology that can be used to bioengineer gamma delta T cell receptors (TCR) with alpha beta T cells to create platforms known as TEGs. These TEGs have the potential to treat a wide range of solid tumors and hematological cancers. The advantage of this platform is that it can combine the capabilities of conventional T cells, which express alpha and beta TCR chain with TCRs that are derived from gamma delta T cells.
The advantage of Gadeta's technology is that it does not need to recognize cancer cell surface proteins to target cells. They can also be used in cellular environments under stress or those undergoing metabolic changes, making them a good potential treatment for solid tumors.