Leading the Way in Life Science Technologies

GEN Exclusives

More »

GEN News Highlights

More »
Mar 9, 2011

Kite Pharma Raises $15M in Initial Private Placement to Progress Anticancer Pipeline

  • Cancer immunotherapeutics firm Kite Pharma raised $15 million in an initial round of private financing with a syndicate of venture and qualified investors. The funds will be used to progress Los Angeles-based Kite’s lead products into clinical development and expand its preclinical pipeline.

    The young firm’s early clinical-stage anticancer candidate is an engineered virus-based alpha fetoprotein (AFP) vaccine designed to stimulate an immune response against AFP-expressing hepatocellular cancer. A Phase I/II clinical trial is currently under way. The Phase I component of the trial will monitor the toxicity of escalating doses of the engineered virus in order to identify a tolerable dose for the Phase II component and future studies. The Phase II stage will evaluate the treatment’s ability to elicit an immune response in a larger number of patients. The National Cancer Institute assisted in funding the AFP-vaccine platform, through its Rapid Access to Interventional Development program.

    Kite’s second lead program is based on its GM-CAIX technology. GM-CAIX is a chimeric molecule created by the fusion of the tumor-expressed antigen CAIX (G250; MN), with the immunostimulant GM-CSF. The fusion protein is then integrated into novel immunotherapy designed to to induce robust immune responses against a wide range of tumors expressing CAIX.

    The lead GM-CAIX program is an autologous dendritic cellular therapy that is initially being developed for the treatment of renal cancers, although other tumor indications will follow, Kite notes. IND-enabling preclinical testing is in progress.  



Related content

Be sure to take the GEN Poll

Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

Do you agree that ecstasy should be studied for its potential therapeutic benefits?

More »