- Kite Pharmaceuticals, one the leading companies in the CAR-T space, is teaming up with Roche in a new immunotherapy collaboration targeting non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Kite will work with Genentech, a unit of Roche, to explore the combination of Kite's CAR-T therapy with Genentech's anti-PDL1 antibody atezolizumab.
- The companies are planning to launch a Phase 1b/2 study sometime in 2016, sponsored by Kite.
- Roche has been bolstering its immunotherapy pipeline recently, announcing this week a potentially $1 billion partnership with Cambridge, MA-based biotech Blueprint Medicines to develop up to five small molecules.
Kite has been working to develop its CAR-T therapy, known as KTE-C19, which genetically modifies a patient's T-cells to target the antigen CD19. This particular antigen is expressed on the surface of B-cell lymphoma cells, allowing the engineered T-cells to find and target the cancer.
The company hopes combining KTE-C19 with Roche's atezolizumab will enhance the activity and spread of its therapy.
"The scientific rationale for combining KTE-C19 and atezolizumab in refractory, aggressive NHL is compelling, and could potentially lead to opportunities to advance this combination in other indications," said Kite CEO Arie Belldegrun.
Atezolizumab received a boost this week when the FDA designated the drug for priority review. Developed for the treatment of bladder cancers, atezolizumab is forecast to hit $5 billion in annual sales by 2020, according to Thomson Reuters. The drug has a target FDA action date of September 12, 2016.