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Kite Pharma Raises $15 Million in Initial Round

Kite Pharma Inc., an early-stage cancer drug developer, on Friday said that it had raised $15 million in an initial financing round.

The Westwood biopharmaceutical company, which was founded in 2009 and is using technology first developed at UCLA, said it made a private placement with a syndicate of venture and qualified investors that included David Bonderman, a founding partner of TPG Capital.

Kite is developing personalized and targeted immune-based cancer treatments that work with a patient’s immune system. Chief Executive Aya Jakobovits, was chief scientific officer at Santa Monica cancer drug developer Agensys Inc., which was acquired by a large Japanese drug company in 2007.

“We are very pleased with the high level of interest in Kite’s strategy and activities, which allowed us to rapidly close this oversubscribed round of financing,” said Jakobovits in a statement. “The funds will allow us to grow the company, advance our products into clinical development and to expand our pre-clinical pipeline.”

In connection with the financing, Bonderman has joined Kite’s board.

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