Pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences Inc. has announced that it will acquire Kite Pharma Inc., developer of personalized cancer treatment drugs, at a company value of $11.9 billion. Part of the technology was developed at the Weizmann Institute.
As reported in Globes:
This is one of the biggest ever acquisitions of a company whose products have not yet been approved for marketing. The company value for the acquisition reflects a 29% premium on the market price.
Kite Pharma has developed a new method for genetically engineering immune system cells, so that they will make a focused attack on the malignant tumor. The company was founded in the US by Israeli-American Professor Arie Belldegrun, who already has two exits to his credit. He is also a former director at Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.A significant part of the technology on which the product is based was developed by Professor Zelig Eshhar of the Weizmann Institute of Science.The main Israeli beneficiary of the acquisition is the Pontifax fund, which invested $3.8 million in Kite Pharma at an early stage, but which distributed Kite Pharma shares worth $120 million to its investors.
Kite Pharma is waiting for marketing approval of its first product, following a successful trial on 100 patients on a very abbreviated track for innovative cancer products. The product was initially designed for treatment of blood cancer, but it is now hoped that its use can later be expanded to treatment of other types of cancer.