Santa Monica-based immunotherapy company Kite, a subsidiary company of Foster City-based Gilead Sciences Inc., has signed one new drug development partnership and hit a key milestone with another.

On June 17, Kite announced a strategic partnership with La Jolla-based biotech company Shoreline Biosciences Inc. to jointly develop new immunotherapies to treat an array of cancers.

Shoreline has experience in genetic reprogramming and using immune system tissue cells as treatment vehicles, while Kite has experience in engineering immune cells to treat cancers and other diseases.

Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed.

Under the partnership, Kite will have the option to develop a treatment using Shoreline’s therapeutic technology involving immune system tissue cells.

“We are excited about the potential of Shoreline’s next-generation approach to allogeneic development and how our collaboration can accelerate this research across different leukemias and lymphomas,” Mert Aktar, Kite’s vice president of corporate development and strategy, said in the announcement.

Kite earlier this year participated in a $43 million Series A financing for Shoreline Biosciences.

Meanwhile, a Kite joint venture achieved a key approval milestone in China.
Fosun Kite Biotechnology Co. Ltd., a joint venture between Kite and Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical (Group) Co., received approval from the China National Medical Products Association for a drug to treat adult patients with certain types of lymphomas.

The approval, announced June 28, marks the first time an engineered immune cell treatment has been okayed for use in China. Kite licensed its principal drug Yescarta to the joint venture for the Chinese market.

The new drug targets several types of large B-cell lymphomas, or LBCLs, which are a subset of non-Hodgkin lymphomas. B cells, or lymphocytes, are white blood cells that manufacture antibodies to combat invading bacterial or viral cells.

“In relapsed or refractory LBCL, current standard-of-care is associated with poor long-term outcomes, so we are pleased to offer this new hope of survival for patients in China who are in need of new therapeutic options,” Terence O’Sullivan, vice president for Kite’s international division, said in the announcement.

The Fosun Kite joint venture company was established in 2017, the same year Gilead Sciences bought Kite for $11.9 billion from bioscience entrepreneur Arie Belldegrun. 

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