Kite Pharma Inc (NASDAQ:KITE) and Roche Holding Ltd. (VTX:ROG) subsidiary RHHBY Genentech have entered a collaboration for KTE -C19 immunotherapy therapy. This partnership will help in development of breakthrough treatment for severe respiratory ailments.

According to the partnership deal, both the companies will work together for analyzing how safe and efficient the Kite’s KTE-C19 and Roche’s atezolizumab treatments were for patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and respiratory conditions. The research will be funded by Kite Pharma.

Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Kite Arie Belldegrun said that Kite was a major player in engineered T cell treatment and the company is happy to have collaborated with another industry major Genentech for developing cancer treatment.

KTE-C19 Progress

There are four studies called ZUMA that are already in progress for KTE-C19 and these are analyzing the efficacy of the treatment for B cell malignancies patients. KTE-C19 has already got the Breakthrough Therapy Designation for Refractory diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL), transformed follicular lymphoma (TFL) and primary mediastinal B cell lymphoma (PMBCL) by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

Orphan drug status in the U.S. has also been issued to the treatment for DLBCL and some grants in EU. Roche’s atezolizumab treatment has got a priority review grant by FDA for treating advanced stage cancer of the bladder.

The KTE-C19 modifies the T cells genetically for targeting CD 19 protein that is formed in patients with B cell lymphomas and leukemias. Atezolizumab antibody acts by targeting and binding to PD-L1 protein on tumor and immune cells. A combined treatment using this drug could be a breakthrough.

Clinical Trials in 2016

In the latter half of 2016, both the companies are expected to start a Phase 1b/II clinical trial similar to the current ZUMA 1 study for patients with NHL. The results will ascertain the efficacy of the treatment. The two therapies can be combined to cure many other ailments once the results of their combination were out, as per Belldegrun.

Kite Pharma is also working under partnership for treating CAR T cell immune therapies with Amgen, Inc. as it is looking to establish itself as a pioneer in cancer treatment.