SANTA MONICA, Calif. & LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Kite, a Gilead Company (Nasdaq: GILD), and Appia Bio, Inc., an early stage biotechnology company developing engineered allogeneic cell therapies from hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) for cancer patients, today announced a collaboration and license agreement to research and develop HSC-derived cell therapies directed toward hematological malignancies. Under the partnership, Kite and Appia Bio will develop chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-engineered invariant natural killer T (CAR-iNKT) cells using Appia Bio’s ACUA technology platform for allogeneic cell therapy.
Founded in 2020, Appia Bio recently announced the completion of its Series A financing to support the advancement of the company’s pipeline of allogeneic CAR-iNKT cell therapy candidates into the clinic. With its ACUA technology platform, Appia Bio leverages the biology of lymphocyte development to generate CAR-iNKT cells from HSCs. The ACUA platform offers the potential for improved efficacy and safety, streamlined manufacturing, and off-the-shelf accessibility of HSC-derived CAR iNKT-cell therapies.
“We are thrilled to partner with a leader in cell therapy such as Kite, who shares our vision for the potential of iNKT cells in off-the-shelf allogeneic cell therapy,” said JJ Kang, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of Appia Bio. “Our partnership with Kite is an important step toward establishing the broad pipeline potential of our ACUA platform and bringing new treatment options to patients.”
“As a pioneer in cell therapy, Kite is deeply commited to developing the next-generation of cell therapies to treat and potentially cure cancer patients,” said Mert Aktar, Vice President of Corporate Development and Strategy at Kite. “Through our collaboration with Appia Bio, we’re excited to harness unique biological properties of invariant natural killer T cells to research and develop allogeneic cell therapies for cancer.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Appia Bio will be responsible for preclinical and early clinical research of two HSC-derived CAR-iNKT product candidates engineered with CARs provided by Kite. Appia Bio will receive an upfront payment, an equity investment, and additional milestone payments for a total value of up to $875 million as well as tiered royalties. Kite will be responsible for the development, manufacturing, and commercialization of the product candidates identified through the collaboration.
Kite, a Gilead Company, is a global biopharmaceutical company based in Santa Monica, California, with commercial manufacturing operations in North America and Europe. Kite’s singular focus is cell therapy to treat and potentially cure cancer. As the cell therapy leader, Kite has more approved CAR T indications to help more patients than any other company. For more information on Kite, please visit www.kitepharma.com.
About Gilead Sciences
Gilead Sciences, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company that has pursued and achieved breakthroughs in medicine for more than three decades, with the goal of creating a healthier world for all people. The company is committed to advancing innovative medicines to prevent and treat life-threatening diseases, including HIV, viral hepatitis and cancer. Gilead operates in more than 35 countries worldwide, with headquarters in Foster City, California.
About Appia Bio
Appia Bio is an early stage biotechnology company based in Los Angeles, California. Founded in 2020, Appia Bio is focused on discovering and developing engineered allogeneic cell therapies across a broad array of indications with a scalable technology platform that increases access for patients. With its ACUA (Appia Cells Utilized for Allogeneic) technology platform, Appia Bio leverages the biology of lymphocyte development with chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) and T-cell receptor (TCR) gene engineering to generate CAR-engineered invariant natural killer T (CAR-iNKT) cell subtypes from hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). For more information, please visit www.appiabio.com.
Gilead and Kite Forward-Looking Statements
This press release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, including the risk that Kite may not realize the anticipated benefits of this collaboration with Appia Bio; difficulties or unanticipated expenses in connection with the collaboration and the potential effect on Kite's earnings; and the possibility that the parties may make a strategic decision to terminate this collaboration at any time. These and other risks, uncertainties and other factors are described in detail in Gilead’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2021, as filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. These risks, uncertainties and other factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those referred to in the forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical fact are statements that could be deemed forward-looking statements. Investors are cautioned that any such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties and are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements are based on information currently available to Kite and Gilead, and Kite and Gilead assume no obligation and disclaim any intent to update any such forward-looking statements.
Kite, the Kite logo and GILEAD are trademarks of Gilead Sciences, Inc. or its related companies.
For more information on Kite, please visit the company’s website at www.kitepharma.com or call Gilead Public Affairs at 1-800-GILEAD-5 or 1-650-574-3000. Follow Kite on social media on Twitter (@KitePharma) and LinkedIn.