Amgen and Kite Team Up on Cancer Treatments

LOS ANGELES (Los Angeles Times/TNS) -

Santa Monica, Calif.-based Kite Pharma Inc. is teaming up with biotech giant Amgen Inc. to develop cancer treatments, a deal that sent Kite’s stock soaring.

Shares of Kite Pharma rose $9.14, or 15.1 percent, to $69.75 in trading Monday. Amgen, based in Thousand Oaks, Calif., saw its shares fall $1.90, or 1.2 percent, to $157.99.

The partnership announced Monday focuses on immunotherapy drugs that are intended to stimulate the body’s immune system to attack cancer cells.

Amgen said it will pay Kite $60 million upfront. Kite can also receive up to $525 million in milestone payments.

Amgen is also eligible to receive up to $525 million in milestone payments as part of the collaboration, the companies said. Further terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed.

Kite’s stock has rallied significantly since going public in June at $17 a share.

“Amgen is an ideal partner for us based on their strong presence in oncology,” Dr. Arie Belldegrun, Kite Pharma’s chief executive, said in a statement.