European CAR-T stocks have jumped following Gilead’s announcement that it will acquire Kite Pharma, Novartis’ main competitor to launch the first therapy.
Yesterday, Gilead bought a $11.9Bn (€9.9Bn) ticket to enter the final leg of the race to launch the first CAR-T therapy, a technology that is expected to change how cancer is treated. Despite the technology’s high patient death toll in clinical trials, the acquisition is widely seen to validate the technology, causing the share price of European companies in the space to increase.
The stock of French CAR-T company Cellectis, which is leading the development of an off-the-shelf version of CAR-T, is up by 17% a day after the announcement. The stock of the French Celyad, which is working in a version of CAR-T with a wider range of indications, also went up initially by 7%, though it has since retreated to its price before the announcement. Their counterparts In the US, Juno Therapeutics and Bluebird Bio, are also up, by 18.7% and 8.6%, respectively.
By acquiring Kite Pharma, Gilead is now positioned close to the finish line, along with Novartis, which in July received the unanimous recommendation of an FDA panel for the approval of its CAR-T candidate CTL019. The FDA now has a deadline to make a final decision for Novartis in October, and for Kite in November. And with the technology about to enter the market, the entry of a big pharma like Gilead seems to have encouraged investors to jump in the space.
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