Kite Pharma Inc (NASDAQ:KITE) announced that it has entered into a clinical trial collaboration with Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, to evaluate the safety and efficacy of KTE-C19, in combination with atezolizumab (also known as MPDL3280A), in patients with refractory, aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).

KTE-C19 is an investigational immunotherapy in which a patient’s T cells are genetically modified to express a CAR designed to target the antigen CD19, a protein expressed on the cell surface of B cell lymphomas and leukemias.  Atezolizumab is an investigational monoclonal antibody designed to target and bind to a protein called PD-L1, which is expressed on tumor cells and tumor-infiltrating immune cells.  PD-L1 interacts with PD-1 and B7.1, both found on the surface of T cells, causing inhibition of T cells.  Use of the two compounds in combination could provide a synergistic effect since inhibiting PD-L1 with atezolizumab may enhance and prolong the activity and proliferation of KTE-C19.

“Kite is a pioneer in engineered T cell therapy, and we are excited to collaborate with Genentech, an industry leader with a history of developing transformative therapies for cancer,” said Arie Belldegrun, M.D., FACS, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Kite.  “KTE-C19 is currently in four pivotal studies and early clinical findings have shown a potential for breakthrough efficacy in refractory, aggressive NHL and other B cell malignancies.  The scientific rationale for combining KTE-C19 and atezolizumab in refractory, aggressive NHL is compelling, and could potentially lead to opportunities to advance this combination in other indications.”

A multi-center Phase 1b/2 study is expected to begin in 2016.  The study will use the same KTE-C19 dose and regimen as Kite’s ongoing, potential registration study (ZUMA-1) in patients with refractory, aggressive NHL.  Kite will be the sponsor of the study, and the results will be used to evaluate options for further development of the combination. (Original Source)

Shares of Kite Pharma closed yesterday at $44.13, down $0.78 or -1.74%. KITE has a 1-year high of $89.84 and a 1-year low of $38.41. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $46.83 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 March 1, Jefferies Co. analyst Biren Amin maintained a Buy rating on KITE, with a price target of $75, which represents a potential upside of 70.0% from where the stock is currently trading. Separately, on February 25, Citigroup’s Robyn Karnauskas initiated coverage with a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $67.

According to, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Biren Amin and Robyn Karnauskas have a total average return of -0.3% and 4.6% respectively. Amin has a success rate of 39.2% and is ranked #2409 out of 3735 analysts, while Karnauskas has a success rate of 51.7% and is ranked #545.

Overall, 5 research analysts have given a Buy rating to the stock. When considering if perhaps the stock is under or overvalued, the average price target is $67.00 which is 51.8% above where the stock closed yesterday.

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.