Kite Pharma drug Yescarta passed a clinical trial milestone.

Kite Pharma drug Yescarta passed a clinical trial milestone.

The Santa Monica-based Kite pharmaceutical operation has leased a building in the Netherlands to produce its gene-based cancer therapies in Europe, the company announced last week.

The operation – known formally as Kite, a Gilead Co. – leased the 117,000-square-foot site to manufacture and deliver its personalized CAR-T cancer-fighting treatments.

The plant, expected to provide 300 jobs, is scheduled to open in 2020.

The lease follows Kite’s deal in January to pay $135 million for a 160,000-square-foot biotech laboratory once run by Agensys Inc. in Santa Monica to conduct cell therapy research, development and expansion. The company also has leased a 26,000-square-foot facility in Gaithersburg, Md., to work with the National Cancer Institute to develop adoptive cell therapies targeting patient-specific tumor neoantigens.

Kite was founded by Arie Belldegrun in Santa Monica in 2009 to develop a radical therapy based on research pioneered by the National Cancer Institute to engineer the body’s immune cells to attack malignant cells.

Gilead Sciences purchased Kite Pharma Inc. last summer for $11.9 billion. It then won federal approval for Kite’s personalized immunotherapy for adults with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Belldegrun is now executive chairman of Allogene Therapeutics in South San Francisco.

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