On Dec. 7, 2017, Gilead Sciences and its cell-therapy subsidiary Kite Pharma announced an agreement to acquire Cell Design Labs, a pre-clinical stage biotherapeutics company specializing in custom cell engineering.
In August, Novartis AG's Kymriah became the first CAR-T cell therapy to get US approval, signaling a new era in the treatment of cancer.
The Cell Design acquisition could expand Gilead's cell therapy capabilities beyond cancer. He is also Cell Design Labs' scientific founder as well as an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The company's lead preclinical compound targets multiple myeloma.
"Cell Design Labs' talented team of cell biology experts will augment and accelerate our work to bring forward new generations of CAR-T and T-cell receptor (TCR) therapies, building on our acquisition of Kite earlier this year and our efforts to improve care for people with advanced cancers", Gilead president and CEO John F. Milligan, Ph.D., said in a statement. Under the terms of the deal, Gilead will initially pay about $175 million and dole out the remaining $322 million to CDL shareholders, other than Kite, following the achievement of certain.
Emeryville, CA-based Cell Design Labs is based on the research of University of California, San Francisco, scientist Wendell Lim.
Throttle, on the other hand, is an on switch that modulates vehicle T activity using small molecules.
Cell Design is a logical next step.
Cell Design Labs is developing several preclinical product candidates, including therapies for prostate cancer and hepatocellular carcinoma that use the synNotch technology. The company says that these technologies are able to engineer cells that are better able to recognize cancer, and in turn, spare healthy tissue.
"This acquisition demonstrates our deep commitment to continuing to invest in future innovation in the field of cellular therapy, both internally and externally", said Gilead CEO John Milligan in a December 7 statement. That's significant because the Kite CAR-T, which was approved to treat cases of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in patients who had failed two other treatments, comes with the risk of an immune response called cytokine release syndrome, in which inflammatory proteins called cytokines are activated in the body.