Kite Pharma partners with Japan's Daiichi for cancer therapy

(Reuters) - Kite Pharma Inc said on Monday it partnered with Daiichi Sankyo Co Ltd to develop and commercialize its cancer treatment therapy in Japan, putting the U.S. company in line to receive up to $250 million in payments.

The company will also receive low to mid double-digit sales royalties.

Kite’s lead investigational therapy, axicabtagene ciloleucel, is part of an experimental class of drugs that are made by genetically altering a patient’s T-cells, a type of white blood cell, in the lab to help the immune system find and kill cancer cells.

The modified cells, called chimeric antigen receptor T-cells, or CAR-T, are then infused into the patient.

Of the $250 million, Kite said it would receive $50 million as upfront payment.

Earlier in the day, Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd it would buy cancer drug maker Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc in a deal valued at $5.20 billion, to beef up its oncology pipeline.

Reporting by Divya Grover in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel