Growth in Oncology Programs
Despite a disrupted world, we kept our eyes on the future, continually asking “What's next?” In 2020, we significantly enhanced our oncology portfolio, an important new pillar of growth for Gilead, as we seek to achieve our strategic ambition of delivering 10+ transformative medicines to patients by 2030. We entered into 11 acquisitions and partnerships in oncology, adding to our commercial portfolio and clinical pipeline. Together, these new programs have the potential to reach patients with a range of hematological malignancies and solid tumors.
Impactful Partnerships and Acquisitions
Gilead entered into 18 strategic partnerships and acquisitions in 2020, including the 11 oncology-focused transactions. The result: we have increased our pipeline by 50% overall, as measured by asset-indication projects, with direct ownership of 12 new molecules and the right to opt into 14 other molecules. These opportunities can help us to accelerate the development and potential commercialization of medicines for patients.
A Growing, Diverse Pipeline and Portfolio
We continue to enhance our clinical pipeline through external partnerships and collaborations and internal research and development. We passionately pursue transformative science and innovative medicine in the areas of virology, oncology and inflammatory diseases.
The acquisition of Forty Seven, Inc. strengthened Gilead’s oncology research and development portfolio with the addition of magrolimab, an investigational, potentially first-in-class, anti-CD47 monoclonal antibody. We are studying it for a number of hematological cancers and its potential to treat solid tumors. Magrolimab has received FDA Breakthrough Therapy designation for the treatment of newly diagnosed myelodysplastic syndrome.
In July 2020, the FDA approved Kite’s second chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, Tecartus® (brexucabtagene autoleucel), making Kite the first company with two approved cell therapies. Yescarta® (axicabtagene ciloleucel), has been on the market since 2017. Tecartus is a treatment for adults with relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma, a form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that arises from cells originating in the “mantle zone” of the lymph node. Mantle cell lymphoma can become highly aggressive for patients whose disease returns after initial therapy. Tecartus offers an important new treatment option for those patients.
With the acquisition of Immunomedics, Inc. in October, we added our first medicine for solid tumors, Trodelvy (sacituzumab govitecan-hziy), a first-in-class medicine for people with metastatic triple-negative breast cancer, one of the toughest-to-treat forms of the disease.
At the 62nd American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting and Exposition in December, researchers shared updated, four-year data from our ZUMA-1 trial in people with relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma.
Using Cell Therapy to Improve Outcomes for People with Cancer
A Q&A with Christi Shaw, Chief Executive Officer of Kite
Kite continued to drive innovation to help people with cancer. As an autonomous organization with the benefit of collaboration with Gilead, Kite continued its resolute pursuit of the cure, focusing on transformative medicines for hard-to-treat cancers. Kite Chief Executive Officer Christi Shaw shares an update on the year’s advancements and milestones.
CAR T is a personalized therapy that involves engineering a patient’s own white blood cells to fight cancer. Cell therapy trains a person’s immune system to recognize, attack and destroy certain types of cancer. Engineered T-cell therapy is among the biggest breakthroughs in cancer treatment since the introduction of combination chemotherapy more than 60 years ago. It’s a remarkable genetic engineering process and we’re committed to bringing it to more people in need.
Both Kite and Gilead are focused on life-changing cancer medicines. We are striving to fundamentally change the way we target difficult-to-treat cancers. It’s a bold vision, and it’s one we’re committed to achieving together.
We are proud to be able to bring the benefits of CAR T to more people living with cancer. Tecartus is the first and only CAR T-cell therapy for patients with relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma, which tends to become more aggressive over time. And our data on Yescarta, at four years post-infusion from our trial, has demonstrated the longest-term survival results from any CAR T pivotal trial in people with relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma.
As we continue to innovate in cell therapy and bring new therapies to patients, ensuring hospitals can be reimbursed for CAR T and patients are able to receive it, regardless of where they receive care, is crucial. This applies not only to today's CAR T; it will also be critical as we bring cell therapy to more people with different kinds of cancer.
As most patients are seen by community oncologists, it has been essential to further build the Kite community-facing field force. The mission of this team is to educate physicians on the benefits of CAR T and identify and reduce barriers that may prevent patients from accessing treatment at an authorized treatment center. We also worked with the U.S. government in 2020 to broaden access to cell therapies for patients covered by certain government programs.