Kite Pharma Acquires T-Cell Factory
Kite Pharma, Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing engineered autologous T cell therapy (eACT) products based on CAR and TCR gene therapy platforms for the treatment of cancer, has acquired T-Cell Factory B.V. (TCF), a privately held Dutch company, which has been renamed Kite Pharma EU.
Founded by scientists, including Professor Dr. Ton N. M. Schumacher, PhD, of the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI) and Professor Dr. Dirk H. Busch, MD, of the Technische UniversitÃ¤t MÃ¼nchen (TUM), TCF has the ability to discover and develop tumor-specific TCRs for broad application in cancer treatment based on its proprietary TCR-GENErator platform. Professor Schumacher will assume the role of chief scientific officer of Kite Pharma EU and maintain his position as deputy director of the NKI. Through this acquisition, Kite Pharma has obtained license agreements with IBA GmbH, Sanquin Blood Supply Foundation, and the NKI that include rights to certain new intellectual property in the TCR space developed by Professor Schumacher at the NKI. In addition, the acquisition provides access to European clinical manufacturing facilities, launching a base for Kite to build its global presence and initiate clinical programs in the EU.
Financial terms of Kite’s acquisition of TCF include an upfront payment of up to EUR 20.0 million (approximately $21.0M) to TCF shareholders, licensors and employees, of which EUR 3.8 million (approximately $4.0M USD) will be paid in Kite stock. Kite is obligated to make certain milestone payments upon the achievement of clinical, regulatory and sales milestones relating to TCR-based product candidates.
The acquisition of TCF follows the announcement earlier this month of Kite’s expanded Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the National Cancer Institute to develop new TCR candidates, including against tumor neo-antigens, truly tumor-specific antigens generated as tumors accumulate genetic mutations. TCRs broaden the approach to cancer treatment by allowing targeting of tumor antigens found inside cancer cells, as well as surface antigens.
Source: Kite Pharma