Kite Pharma Inc (NASDAQ:KITE) and bluebird bio, Inc. announced that they have entered into a collaboration agreement to co-develop and co-commercialize second generation T cell receptor (TCR) product candidates directed against the human papillomavirus type 16 E6 (HPV-16 E6) oncoprotein incorporating gene editing and lentiviral technologies. bluebird bio has a platform comprised of lentiviral gene delivery and gene editing capabilities, with a focus on rare diseases and cancer immunotherapies. Kite has a broad existing pipeline of TCR product candidates and will continue to develop its existing and wholly-owned TCR programs directed against high-risk HPV, which are unaffected by this collaboration, including HPV-16 E6 TCR, currently in a Phase I study, and HPV-16 E7 TCR. The collaboration brings together the powerful technologies and capabilities of these two leading immunotherapy companies.

Under the terms of the agreement, both companies will jointly develop and commercialize second generation TCR product candidates directed against the HPV-16 E6 oncoprotein, incorporating gene editing to efficiently modify certain genes to enhance T cell function. In addition, the companies will explore using lentiviral vectors to optimize delivery of HPV-16 E6 TCRs into patient T cells.

Kite will lead the program in the U.S., and bluebird bio will have the option to lead the program in the European Union. Both companies will share overall costs, including research and development and sales and marketing expenses, and profits will be equally split between the companies. Additionally, Kite will have a co-promotion option in the European Union, and bluebird will have a co-promotion option in the U.S.

“As we continue to build a differentiated immuno-oncology portfolio, we are delighted to partner with Kite in a collaboration that combines their leadership in T cell-based immunotherapies with our expertise in gene editing and industry-leading lentiviral vector platform,” said Nick Leschly, chief bluebird. “We believe partnering with Kite will allow us to deliver game-changing T cell therapies to patients through great science and great capabilities.”

“This partnership is a natural fit with our mission to develop and deliver novel immunotherapies for cancer patients, and collaborating globally with bluebird bio will allow us to benefit from the strengths and capabilities of both companies in immuno-oncology. Through this collaboration, we will have access to our partner’s strong science expertise and enabling technologies to further enhance one of our key TCR programs and to evaluate gene editing technology in the context of T cell therapy,” said Arie Belldegrun, M.D., FACS, Kite’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. (Original Source)

Shares of Kite Pharma closed last Friday at $62.34 . KITE has a 1-year high of $89.21 and a 1-year low of $21. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $55.52 and its 200-day moving average is $60.63.

On the ratings front, Kite Pharma has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on June 18, Maxim Group analyst Jason McCarthy initiated coverage with a Buy rating on KITE and a price target of $87, which implies an upside of 39.6% from current levels. Separately, on May 19, Stifel Nicolaus’ Thomas Shrader maintained a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $83.

According to, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Jason McCarthy and Thomas Shrader have a total average return of 10.5% and 27.0% respectively. McCarthy has a success rate of 44.4% and is ranked #1613 out of 3638 analysts, while Shrader has a success rate of 60.0% and is ranked #1415.

The street is mostly Bullish on KITE stock. Out of 4 analysts who cover the stock, 4 suggest a Buy rating . The 12-month average price target assigned to the stock is $84.50, which represents a potential upside of 35.5% from where the stock is currently trading.

Kite Pharma Inc is a clinical-stage bio pharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of novel cancer immunotherapy products designed to harness the power of a patient’s own immune system to eradicate cancer cells.