Kite Pharma and Leiden University Medical Center Sign Research and License Agreement for T Cell Receptors Targeting HPV-Associated Cancers

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Jan. 13, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Kite Pharma, Inc. (KITE) today announced that its European subsidiary has entered into a research and license agreement with Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) to identify and develop T cell receptor (TCR) product candidates targeting solid tumors that are associated with the human papillomavirus (HPV) type 16 infection.

Under the terms of the agreement, Kite Pharma EU will partner with the LUMC Department of Clinical Oncology and Professor Dr. Sjoerd van der Burg, a leader in the research of HPV-associated cancers.   Kite will also receive an exclusive option to license multiple TCR gene sequences for the development and commercialization of product candidates.

"This collaboration expands our existing TCR franchise targeting HPV-associated cancers and creates an opportunity to broaden the coverage of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) types across different patient populations," said David Chang, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President of Research and Development of Kite. "LUMC is an ideal partner, given its deep experience with the immune response to solid tumors, and complements our existing research and development capabilities in Europe."

Kite Pharma EU, based in Amsterdam, is focused on the discovery and development of tumor-specific TCRs for broad use in cancer treatment based on its TCR-GENErator™ platform.  Kite Pharma EU is comprised of a leading team of immuno-oncology researchers and collaborators, including Professor Dr. Ton N. M. Schumacher, who serves as Chief Scientific Officer. 

About HPV-Associated Cancers

There were over 525,000 new cases of and 265,000 deaths attributable to cervical cancer worldwide in 2012.1 HPV is the most common viral infection of the reproductive tract, and HPV-16 is believed to cause about 50-60% of cervical cancers. HPV-16 is also implicated in additional anogenital and head and neck cancer types,2 and is believed to cause 90% of HPV-mediated oropharyngeal cancers and the majority of HPV-mediated anal, penile, vaginal and vulvar cancers.

About Leiden University Medical Center

LUMC is a modern university medical center for research, education and patient care with a high quality profile and a strong scientific orientation. The Department of Clinical Oncology performs scientific research on the immune response to solid tumors, and in particular focuses on ways by which immunomodulation can help improve the outcome of treatment of patients with solid tumors, including human papillomavirus-driven cancers, ovarian cancer and melanoma. Current strategies aim at improving the immune response against cancer cells by therapeutic vaccination, targeting new checkpoint molecules, administration of ex vivo expanded T-cells, and/or oncolytic viruses, in combination with chemotherapy and other immune modulators.

About Kite Pharma, Inc.

Kite Pharma, Inc. is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company engaged in the development of novel cancer immunotherapy products, with a primary focus on engineered autologous cell therapy (eACT™) designed to restore the immune system's ability to recognize and eradicate tumors. Kite is based in Santa Monica, CA. For more information on Kite Pharma, please visit  Sign up to follow @KitePharma on Twitter at

Kite Pharma, Inc. Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements for purposes of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The press release may, in some cases, use terms such as "predicts," "believes," "potential," "proposed," "continue," "estimates," "anticipates," "expects," "plans," "intends," "may," "could," "might," "will," "should" or other words that convey uncertainty of future events or outcomes to identify these forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements include statements regarding Kite's expectations regarding the ability to identify and develop TCR based product candidates targeting solid tumors expressing HPV-16, and the ability to discover and develop tumor-specific TCRs for broad use in cancer treatment with the TCR-GENErator™ platform. Various factors may cause differences between Kite's expectations and actual results as discussed in greater detail in Kite's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including without limitation in Kite's Current Report on Form 8-K filed with the SEC on December 8, 2015. Any forward-looking statements that is made in this press release speak only as of the date of this press release. Kite assumes no obligation to update the forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, after the date of this press release.

1 Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Ervik M, et al. GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.0, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2013.

2 World Health Organization, Human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer, Fact sheet N°380.


Kite Pharma:

Cynthia M. Butitta, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer


For Media: Justin Jackson

For Investor Inquiries: Lisa Burns

Burns McClellan


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