Gilead’s Kite pens 10-target CAR-T tech deal with MaxCyte

Gilead’s Kite Pharma has expanded its CAR-T agreement with MaxCyte. The revised deal gives Kite the chance to apply MaxCyte’s transfection technology to up to 10 targets.

Kite first struck a deal to use MaxCyte’s technology, dubbed Flow Electroporation, in November. Now, Kite has significantly expanded the deal by securing the right to use the technology in the nonviral engineering of CAR-T therapies against up to 10 targets. MaxCyte granted Kite nonexclusive access to the technology in return for a financial package featuring development and approval milestones.

"We're excited to take our relationship with Kite further into product development, providing the company the ability to leverage MaxCyte's versatile cell engineering platform to enable the power of gene-editing for clinical and commercial development of critical new CAR-T therapeutics," MaxCyte CEO Doug Doerfler said in a statement.

The quick decision to expand the agreement suggests Kite, like other companies before it, was won over by the technology. MaxCyte’s platform uses an electrical field to reverse the permeability of cell membranes and enable molecules to pass into the cell, eliminating the use of chemicals or viruses.

Applied to autologous CAR-T therapies, MaxCyte thinks the technology will shorten and simplify the production process, enabling companies to get drugs to cancer patients sooner and for less money. If MaxCyte’s technology lives up to that billing, it could lessen two of the big shortcomings of existing CAR-Ts, namely the cost of making them and the lag between prescription and treatment.

MaxCyte is working on its own CAR-T candidates while licensing its technology to other companies. For its in-house pipeline, MaxCyte has used the technology to create autologous CAR-Ts using human mRNA.