Kite Pharma Inc (NASDAQ:KITE) announced that it has entered into a worldwide research and license agreement with Alpine Immune Sciences, Inc. (AIS), a privately-held biotechnology company, to discover and develop protein-based immunotherapies targeting the immune synapse to treat cancer. AIS will grant Kite an exclusive license to two programs from its transmembrane immunomodulatory protein (TIP™) technology, which Kite plans to further engineer into chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) and T cell receptor (TCR) product candidates. This collaboration will accelerate Kite’s efforts to establish the next generation of engineered T cell therapies specifically designed to overcome the inhibitory mechanisms present in the tumor microenvironment.

“The field of immuno-oncology has the potential to significantly improve the outcome of patients with cancer,” said Arie Belldegrun, M.D., FACS, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Kite. “We believe the ability of AIS’ TIP™ technology to modulate the immune synapse can be incorporated into engineered T cell therapies to advance CAR and TCR product candidates into multiple tumor types. This collaboration is another example of Kite’s continuing commitment to advancing our pipeline through transformative technologies grounded in innovative science.”

Under the terms of the collaboration, Kite will make an upfront payment to AIS of $5 million and additional payments to support AIS’ research. AIS will be eligible to receive milestone payments based upon the successful achievement of pre-specified research, clinical, and regulatory milestones totaling $530 million plus low single-digit royalty payments on product sales. Kite will receive an exclusive, worldwide license to research, develop and commercialize engineered autologous T cell therapies incorporating two programs coming from the AIS platform.

“AIS was established with a team of experienced scientists to capitalize on our keen understanding of immunology and protein engineering,” said Mitchell H. Gold, M.D., Executive Chairman. “At AIS, we have a robust discovery platform to identify molecules capable of directly modulating the immune synapse.  We look forward to working with Kite, a company that uniquely understands the complexities surrounding cancer biology.” (Original Source)

Shares of Kite Pharma are trading at $70.25, up $0.58 or 0.84% Monday morning. KITE has a 1-year high of $89.21 and a 1-year low of $32.29. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $62.30 and its 200-day moving average is $60.71.

On the ratings front, Kite Pharma has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on October 20, Maxim Group analyst Jason McCarthy maintained a Buy rating on KITE, with a price target of $87, which represents a potential upside of 24.9% from where the stock is currently trading. Separately, on October 16, Stifel Nicolaus’ Thomas Shrader reiterated 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 -6.1% and -2.3% respectively. McCarthy has a success rate of 50.0% and is ranked #3336 out of 3802 analysts, while Shrader has a success rate of 47.4% and is ranked #2882.

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.