UPDATE 1-Kite Pharma's lead cancer immunotherapy shows promise in study

Mon Aug 25, 2014 6:04pm EDT

(Adds details, shares)

Aug 25 (Reuters) - Drug developer Kite Pharma Inc said its experimental cancer immunotherapy showed potential in treating patients with an aggressive form of blood cancer, in an early-stage study.

The company's shares rose as much as 49.5 percent in extended trading.

Kite's lead therapy, KTE-C19, is being developed to fight non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a cancer that originates in the lymph nodes.

In one arm of the study, funded by Kite and conducted by National Cancer Institute, 15 patients were given the therapy. Of the 13 patients eligible for evaluation, cancer symptoms disappeared completely in eight patients and partially in four, the company said.

The therapy involves genetically modifying a patient's cells to target a protein found on the surface of some lymphoma and leukemia cells.

Kite said it planned to seek in the fourth quarter the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's approval for further clinical testing of the therapy.

Santa Monica, California-based Kite's shares closed at $22.30 on the Nasdaq on Monday.

Up to Monday's close, the stock had risen about 31 percent since it debuted in June. (Reporting by Amrutha Penumudi in Bangalore; Editing by Kirti Pandey)