CAR-T, Combos

Beefing up its CAR-T pipeline, Gilead teams up with Pfizer on a lymphoma combo

Pfizer $PFE and Gilead $GILD are joining hands on a new combo program that will tie the CAR-T star Yescarta with an early-stage drug that has been bouncing around the clinic for the last few years.

Pfizer’s utomilumab (PF-05082566) is also in combo studies with Keytruda and Kyowa Hakko Kirin’s anti-CCR4 antibody mogamulizumab. It’s a 4-1BB agonist, which researchers believe could prove a key player in spurring an amped up T cell attack on cancer cells among patients with large B-cell lymphoma.

David Chang

The pact between Pfizer and Gilead’s new subsidiary Kite is just the latest example of the plans now underway to beef up the pipeline at the CAR-T company as it goes toe-to-toe with Novartis, which scored the first landmark FDA approval in CAR-T with the rollout of Kymriah.

The race now is to produce better, safer and more effective therapies to succeed the first two pioneers.

Pfizer’s had utomilumab in early-stage testing for years now, listing it at the bottom of its Phase I chart for experimental oncology drugs. The pharma giant has a development alliance in place with MD Anderson, but there hasn’t been a lot of human data yet to evaluate its potential.

Kite’s David Chang noted:

We are pleased to collaborate with Pfizer on this study with utomilumab, which adds to the growing number of combination approaches we are exploring with Yescarta for patients living with lymphoma.

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Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT
Director of Operations
Atlas Venture Cambridge, MA

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