Gilead Sciences creates a collaboration agreement with Pfizer to enhance CAR-T therapy with another immunotherapy drug built to spur T-cell immune response.
The future of treatments for CAR-T and other technologies such as RNAi, gene therapy, CRISPR, will likely eventually evolve into more robust combination therapies.
CAR-T competitors must look to combination therapies to improve upon efficacy for their respective therapies.
Gilead is likely to acquire at least 1 or more biotechs in 2018, especially with the new US. tax reform.
Recently, it was announced that Gilead Sciences (GILD) would enter a collaboration agreement with Pfizer (PFE). This agreement would combine Gilead’s Yescarta with Pfizer’s utomilumab ((PF-05082566)). The phase 1/2 study for this combo drug is expected to begin sometime in 2018. In my opinion, I think that Gilead pushed for this combination because it is trying its best to compete against Novartis (NVS) Kymriah. That’s because like Yescarta, Kymriah is a CAR-T therapy. This is where T-cells are engineered with chimeric antigen receptors (NASDAQ:CAR) in order to target and kill cancer cells. It’s important to note that CAR-T are synthetic molecules, they don’t exist naturally. As soon as T-cells are pulled out of the patient’s body, they are engineered with CAR-T. The role of CAR-T is to allow T-cells in the patient’s body to attach to a protein or antigen on tumor cells. As soon they find and attach onto cancer cells they kill them.
Yescarta has already been approved by the FDA to treat patients with large B-cell lymphoma. But one thing to note is that it was approved to treat these patients who have first failed to respond after two other treatments. With the phase 1/2 trial expected to start soon, the hope is that the combo therapy can improve upon Yescarta alone. In my opinion, Gilead is smart for exploring combination therapies. That’s because Novartis got first mover advantage by receiving the first FDA approval for a CAR-T therapy, but in the end the winner will be whoever comes up with an improved form of CAR-T therapy (CAR-T combination therapies).