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Kite Pharma's Revolutionary Cancer Treatment

Small/Mid Cap Pharmaceuticals: Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, CAR-T

Pipeline Potential: A

Pipeline Diversity: B

Pipeline Risk: A

Pipeline Competition: B

Financial Security: B

Overall: A-

Kite Pharma published their phase 2 CAR-T trial for Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, showing 41% response and 36% complete response in month 6. Given these results, why are investors so excited?


CAR-T (Chimeric Antigen Receptor) is an extremely simple concept; re-engineer a patient’s own cells to fight cancer. Humans have their own immune system fighting to protect the body from harmful substances and the vast majority of the time, it does its job well. In the case of cancer, a patient’s own immune system cannot “detect” the cancerous cells, allowing the cells to grow uncontrollably and damage the body. In the case of this CAR-T, you take out your T Cells, re-engineer them to target the cancerous cells, replant them into the patient’s body and allow the re-engineered T-Cells to target and kill the cancerous cells. Though this is a conceptually simple technique, it is extremely complex procedure and has been tried and failed for many years by many companies. Kite is the only company to have this done this successfully with minimal side effects.

The patients who took Kite’s drug suffered primarily from two types of aggressive B-Cell Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma: Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma (DLBCL) and Primary Mediastinal B-cell Lymphoma (PMBCL)/Transformed Follicular Lymphoma. The first and primary treatment for the patients with these cancers is chemotherapy. Generally, patients who fail chemotherapy for for this disease do not have much hope of survival or treatment. Kite’s treatment was performed after unsuccessful chemotherapy. Kite’s trials were assessing two types of response: complete response and objective response. A complete response is a complete remission (i.e. “cure”) of the cancer while an objective response is a partial remission to the drug meeting a particular end point. The trials by Kite showed a complete response in 36% of the patients and an objective response in 41% of the patients who took this drug, which is remarkable.

Previous Competitor Trials:<