Kite, a biotech firm based in Santa Monica, has paid $150 million to Richmond-based Sangamo Therapeutics Inc. to develop a gene-editing therapy to treat cancer, the companies announced Feb. 22. The deal could be worth up to $3 billion.

Under the agreement, the company, officially known as Kite, a Gilead Company, will receive exclusive license to employ Sangamo’s zinc finger nuclease platform for developing cell therapies for cancer.

Sangamo, a drug developer, will receive $150 million up front and is eligible to receive up to $3.01 billion more based on regulatory and commercial milestones. The company will also get royalties on sales.

For its part, the Kite subsidiary of Foster City –based Gilead Sciences Inc., is responsible for all development, manufacture and commercialization, including expenses.

Gilead bought Kite Pharma Inc. last year for $12 billion to obtain its cancer therapy known as CAR-T, which engineers a patient’s immune cells to target cancer. It was federally approved last fall for use in patients.

Shares in Sangamo rose 14.4 percent to $25.40 on the close of trading Feb. 22. Shares in Gilead fell 1.6 percent to $79.40.

Health business reporter Dana Bartholomew can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @_DanaBart.

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