Kite Pharma, Gilead Sciences’ cell-therapy division, and Gadeta, a privately held company focused on the discovery and development of cancer immunotherapies based on gamma delta T-cell receptors (TCRs), have entered into a collaboration to develop new gamma delta TCR therapies in various cancers.
Under the financial terms, Kite will provide R&D funding for the collaboration and Gadeta will be eligible to receive future payments upon achievement of certain regulatory milestones. Additionally, Kite will make an upfront purchase of equity in Gadeta from Gadeta’s shareholders and may acquire additional equity in the company upon achievement of certain R&D milestones. Kite will have the exclusive option to acquire Gadeta.
Gadeta has developed a proprietary technology to engineer alpha beta T cells with gamma delta TCRs (TEGs) for the potential treatment of various hematological cancers and solid tumors. According to Kite, this platform has the potential to combine the advantages of conventional T cells, which express alpha and beta TCR chains, with TCRs derived from gamma delta T cells that recognize novel targets in cancer cells, according to preclinical models evaluating the lead TEG candidates. Unlike alpha beta T cells, gamma delta TCRs do not require expression of cell surface proteins (major histocompatibility complex [MHC] molecules) for target recognition, and their ability to recognize novel targets under stress or metabolic conditions offers an attractive approach to develop potentially effective cell therapies in solid tumors, Kite reports.
“We continue to invest in research approaches that support the development of innovative cell therapies for people living with cancer,” said Alessandro Riva, MD, Gilead’s executive vice president, Oncology Therapeutics & Head, Cell Therapy, in a July 19, 2018 press release. “We are excited to work with Gadeta on its gamma delta TCR technology. This research collaboration adds an additional new platform to our current capabilities in research and cell manufacturing and deepens our commitment to develop novel approaches to treat solid tumors.”