Kite didn’t disclose how much it’s paying for the acquisition, though it noted it will acquire all outstanding shares of Tmunity. Kite said it expects the transaction to close in early 2023.
Tmunity develops early-stage cell therapies for the treatment of hematologic malignancies and advanced solid tumors. The biotech was originally founded in 2015 at the University of Pennsylvania to advance that research into the clinic. The founders, Carl June, Bruce Levine, James Riley and Anne Chew, will remain on as senior scientific advisors for Kite.
The acquisition will give Kite Tmunity’s pre-clinical and clinical programs, as well as its “armored” CAR T technology platform. It will also involve Kite taking on the responsibility of continuing Tmunity and Penn’s research collaboration, known as the Amended Research License Agreement.
Kite, which was primarily focused on expanding its cell therapies Yescarta and Tecartus — which treat large B-cell lymphoma and mantle cell lymphoma, respectively – will see its pipeline double with the acquisition. The company is looking at some 20 therapies linked to Tmunity’s University of Pennsylvania research deal.
The pact is another indication that Kite will continue doubling down on cell therapies for cancer treatment. Currently, four of Tmunity’s programs that Kite will acquire are undergoing studies on the federal clinical trial registry, including one that involves a CAR T treatment for neuroblastoma patients that will begin in January 2023.
“We believe that the impact cell therapy is making for patients today is just the start of what is possible,” Kite CEO Christi Shaw said in a statement. “Together, we bring a deep understanding of cell therapy as an effective platform, and combined with Kite’s industry-leading global scale, we collectively have a singular focus: to use cell therapy to develop potential cures, and to get them to patients as quick as possible.”
Two of Tmunity’s assets, however, won’t be included in the acquisition. Its prostate-specific membrane antigen and prostate stem cell antigen will be spun out of Tmunity instead.