Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN) and Kite Pharma (NASDAQ: KITE) announced today that the two companies have entered into a strategic research collaboration and license agreement to develop and commercialize the next generation of novel Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T cell immunotherapies based on Kite’s engineered autologous cell therapy (eACT™) platform and Amgen’s extensive array of cancer targets. The collaboration brings together Amgen’s commitment to and capabilities in advancing new approaches in immuno-oncology and Kite’s industry-leading presence in CAR T cell therapy.
Under the terms of the agreement, Amgen will contribute cancer targets, and Kite will leverage its proprietary CAR platform, research and development (R&D) and manufacturing capabilities, and expertise. Kite will be responsible for conducting all preclinical research and cell manufacturing and processing through Investigational New Drug (IND) filing. Each company will then be responsible for clinical development and commercialization of their respective CAR therapeutic candidates, including all related expenses. Kite will receive from Amgen an upfront payment of $60 million, as well as funding for R&D costs through IND filing. Kite will be eligible to receive up to $525 million in milestone payments per Amgen program based on the successful completion of regulatory and commercialization milestones, plus tiered high single- to double-digit royalties for sales and the license of Kite’s intellectual property for CAR T cell products. Amgen is eligible to receive up to $525 million in milestone payments per Kite program, plus tiered single-digit sales royalties. Further terms of the agreement are not being disclosed.
“The intersection of immunology and oncology represents one of the most promising approaches to delivering significant impact for patients with cancer,” said Sean E. Harper, M.D., executive vice president of Research and Development at Amgen. “With our existing immuno-oncology portfolio of cutting-edge technologies and expertise, we believe joining forces with Kite Pharma will leverage our targets and their leading CAR T cell platform to advance another new promising therapeutic approach to fight cancer.”
“Amgen is an ideal partner for us, based on their strong presence in oncology and the company’s broad array of cancer targets optimally suited for combining with our CAR technologies. We are proud to announce this unique collaboration and its validation of our R&D expertise, intellectual property position, and therapeutic manufacturing and processing capabilities,” stated Arie Belldegrun, M.D., FACS, Kite Pharma’s president and chief executive officer. “We believe that the therapeutic candidates resulting from the collaboration will have the potential to dramatically transform CAR approaches and to become some of the most powerful therapies for the treatment of cancer.”
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