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Kite Pharma CEO: 'We Are Offering The Next Generation Immunotherapy'

Kite Pharma CEO: 'We Are Offering The Next Generation Immunotherapy'

Kite Pharma Inc (NASDAQ: KITE) recently announced that it will be partnering with bluebird bio Inc (NASDAQ: BLUE) to develop second-generation, T-cell receptor product candidates.

Arie Belldegrun, Kite Pharma CEO, was recently on CNBC to shed some light on T-cell therapy the company is developing and testing currently and the future of immunotherapy.

Clinical Trials Are Ongoing

"About a month ago, we have started a multi-center clinical trial across the United States where we are delivering – for the first time – this treatment," Belldegrun began. "It comes out from a central manufacturing place, and it's being shipped directly to the hospital.

"This therapy is now becoming available under the clinical trial to multiple centers around the country."

Related Link: Kite Pharma Shares Its Vision: Here's How Wall Street Is Reacting

T-cell Therapy: Next Generation Immunotherapy

Belldegrun was asked if he sees this therapy becoming more mainstream and part of the first regimen that patients take. He replied, "When you start something that has never been done before, that the FDA has never seen any application for approval this type of treatments, you want to start with end-stage patients that have no other hopes."

He explained, "But as with many other drugs, some of which I personally developed, we start with the worst type of patients and then you move slowly to the mainstream oncology. But what we need to understand, this is immunotherapy...there are different types of immunotherapy. What we are talking here is a gene T-cell therapy.

"It's different than the entire buzz that's happening around what's called checkpoint inhibitors. This is a multi-billion dollar new market of immunotherapy. But as exciting as it is, what we are offering here is the next generation immunotherapy; it's engineering your own T-cell to recognize only cancer cells and sparing healthy cells," Belldegrun said.

Image Credit: Public Domain


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