Kite Pharma, Inc. (NASDAQ:KITE) announced that it has entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the NCI for the research and clinical development of a fully human anti-CD19 chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) product candidate for the treatment of B-cell lymphomas and leukemias.  Under the CRADA, Kite will collaborate with James (Jim) N. Kochenderfer, M.D., an investigator in the Experimental Transplantation and Immunology Branch of the NCI, to evaluate this product candidate in a Phase 1 clinical study this year.

In addition, the newly established CRADA will focus on the development of next-generation CAR programs directed against other novel antigens for the treatment of B-cell lymphomas and leukemias.  Kite will also continue to advance multiple CAR and T cell receptor (TCR) programs under its existing CRADA with the Surgery Branch of the NCI, led by Dr. Rosenberg, a recognized pioneer in immuno-oncology and special advisor to Kite.

“We are delighted to expand our partnership with the NCI by working with the Experimental Transplantation and Immunology Branch.  Our close collaboration with the Surgery Branch over the past three years has enabled us to advance the science behind T cell therapy and to expand our clinical product candidate portfolio at Kite. The new CRADA is a natural step in our life cycle management strategy to further improve the success of CAR therapy for patients with advanced B-cell malignancies,” said Arie Belldegrun, M.D., FACS, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer.

“Dr. Kochenderfer is a world renowned expert in T cell therapy who pioneered innovative CAR T therapies for patients with aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma,” added David Chang, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President of Research and Development.  “His seminal research in anti-CD19 CAR T cell therapy has been instrumental for our lead product candidate, KTE-C19, which is currently in four Kite-sponsored clinical trials in B-cell malignancies. We look forward to expanding our successful collaboration on next generation technologies with Jim.” (Original Source)

Shares of Kite Pharma Inc closed yesterday at $57.13, down $5.18 or -8.31%. KITE has a 1-year high of $89.84 and a 1-year low of $44.01. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $70.46 and its 200-day moving average is $66.24.

On the ratings front, Kite Pharma has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on December 15, Standpoint Research analyst Ronnie Moas upgraded KITE to Buy. Separately, on December 7, FBR’s Edward White maintained a Hold rating on the stock and has a price target of $72.

According to, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Ronnie Moas and Edward White have a total average return of 6.7% and -32.7% respectively. Moas has a success rate of 68.1% and is ranked #27 out of 3630 analysts, while White has a success rate of 0.0% and is ranked #3540.

The street is mostly Bullish on KITE stock. Out of 8 analysts who cover the stock, 7 suggest a Buy rating and one recommends to Hold the stock. The 12-month average price target assigned to the stock is $111.00, which implies an upside of 94.3% from current levels.

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.