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.
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.