Gilead subsidiary Kite has formed a strategic alliance with Dutch drug discovery company Gadeta for the development of new gamma delta T cell receptor (TCR) therapies targeting different types of cancer.

Under the terms of the agreement, Kite will fund research and development (R&D) activities related to the partnership and will make undisclosed regulatory milestone-based payments to Gadeta in the future.

Kite will also purchase a stake in Gadeta and may also buy additional equity in the company upon achievement of some R&D milestones. Kite will further have the exclusive option to acquire Gadeta.

Gilead Oncology Therapeutics executive vice-president and Cell Therapy head Alessandro Riva said: “We continue to invest in research approaches that support the development of innovative cell therapies for people living with cancer.

“This research collaboration adds an additional new platform to our current capabilities in research and cell manufacturing, and deepens our commitment to develop novel approaches to treat solid tumours.”

Founded in 2015, Gadeta created a technology that can engineer alpha beta T cells with gamma delta TCRs called TEGs, to potentially treat a variety of haematological cancers and solid tumours.

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“We are excited to gain the support of a leader in the cell therapy field.”

Based on findings from preclinical models, Gadeta’s technology can potentially combine the advantages of standard T cells with TCRs derived from gamma delta T cells that identify new targets in cancer cells.

Gamma delta TCRs do not require cell surface protein expression to recognise the target and can identify new targets under stress or metabolic conditions. This capability is expected to help in the development of cell therapies for solid tumours.

Gadeta CEO Shelley Margetson said: “Our mission is to develop novel gamma delta TCR cell therapies that have the potential to benefit patients with cancer.

“We are excited to gain the support of a leader in the cell therapy field, which has seen the potential of our platform and products to redefine cancer therapy.”