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Kite Pharma Receives Positive Opinions for Orphan Drug Designation in the European Union (EU) for KTE-C19 in Three Additional Hematological Indications

  • COMP Opinions Recommend EU Orphan Designation for the Treatment of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia/Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma (CLL/SLL), and Follicular Lymphoma (FL)

SANTA MONICA, Calif.Oct. 15, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Kite Pharma, Inc. (Nasdaq:KITE), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing engineered autologous T cell therapy (eACT™) products for the treatment of cancer, today announced that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products (COMP) has adopted positive opinions recommending KTE-C19 for designation as an orphan medicinal product for the treatment of ALL, CLL/SLL, and FL. KTE-C19 is an investigational therapy in which a patient's T cells are genetically modified to express a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) designed to target the antigen CD19, a protein expressed on the cell surface of B-cell lymphomas and leukemias. Kite previously received orphan drug designation for KTE‑C19 for the treatment of diffuse large B‑cell lymphoma (DLBCL) in both the US and the EU, as well as COMP positive opinions for orphan drug designation in the EU for primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma (PMBCL) and mantle cell lymphoma (MCL).

"The orphan drug designation is an important regulatory milestone as we further our development of KTE-C19 in advanced hematological cancers, where there are limited treatment options," said Arie Belldegrun, M.D., FACS, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer. "We are excited by the progress of our ongoing Phase 1/2 clinical trial (ZUMA-1) of KTE-C19 in patients with refractory, aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma, including DLBCL, PMBCL and transformed follicular lymphoma (TFL), for which we anticipate presenting top-line Phase 1 data later this year."

The COMP adopts an opinion on the granting of orphan drug designation, after which the opinion is submitted to the European Commission (EC) for endorsement of the opinion. Orphan drug designation by the EC provides regulatory and financial incentives for companies to develop and market therapies that treat a life-threatening or chronically debilitating condition affecting no more than five in 10,000 persons in the EU, and where no satisfactory treatment is available. In addition to a 10-year period of marketing exclusivity in the EU after product approval, orphan drug designation provides incentives for companies seeking protocol assistance from the EMA during the product development phase, and direct access to the centralized authorization procedure.

About Kite Pharma

Kite Pharma, Inc., is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company engaged in the development of novel cancer immunotherapy products, with a primary focus on engineered autologous cell therapy (eACT™) designed to restore the immune system's ability to recognize and eradicate tumors. Kite is based in Santa Monica, CA. For more information on Kite Pharma, please visit

Cautionary Note on Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements for purposes of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. We may, in some cases, use terms such as "predicts," "believes," "potential," "proposed," "continue," "estimates," "anticipates," "expects," "plans," "intends," "may," "could," "might," "will," "should" or other words that convey uncertainty of future events or outcomes to identify these forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements include statements regarding our intentions, beliefs, projections, outlook, analyses or current expectations concerning, among other things: the progress of Kite's product development programs, including of its lead candidate, KTE-C19, and the timing of data disclosure. Various factors may cause differences between Kite's expectations and actual results as discussed in greater detail in Kite's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including without limitation in its Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2015. Any forward-looking statements that we make in this press release speak only as of the date of this press release. We assume no obligation to update our forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, after the date of this press release.

CONTACT: Kite PharmaCynthia M. Butitta

         Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer


         For Media: Justin Jackson

         For Investor Inquiries: Lisa BurnsBurns McClellan


Source: Kite Pharma, Inc.

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