Gilead Sciences announced it will acquire Kite Pharma for $180 per share in cash. The transaction, which values Kite at about $11.9 billion, was approved by both Boards of Directors and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.
Kite is a leader in the field of cell therapy, and it has developed engineered cell therapies that express either a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) or an engineered T cell receptor (TCR), depending on the type of cancer. Kite’s most advanced therapy candidate, axicabtagene ciloleucel (axi-cel), is a CAR T therapy currently under priority review by the U.S. FDA. According to the company, it is expected to be the first to market as a treatment for refractory aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which includes diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), transformed follicular lymphoma (TFL) and primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma (PMBCL). The FDA has set a target action date of November 29, 2017, under the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA).
“The acquisition of Kite establishes Gilead as a leader in cellular therapy and provides a foundation from which to drive continued innovation for people with advanced cancers,” said John F. Milligan, PhD, Gilead’s president and CEO. “The field of cell therapy has advanced very quickly, to the point where the science and technology have opened a clear path toward a potential cure for patients...”
Research and development as well as the commercialization operations for Kite will remain based in Santa Monica, California, with product manufacturing remaining in El Segundo, California.