Exciting times in cellular immunotherapy
On 30 August the US FDA issued the first ever approval for a cellular immunotherapy.
Novartis’ Kymriah is a CAR-T therapy, which involves modifying a patient’s own immune cells to express an artificial receptor, which causes the immune cells to kill cancer cells expressing the target for the receptor.
Immunotherapy companies will be hopeful that this approval will open the floodgates for approvals of other treatments which similarly aim to harness the immune system to fight cancer, and will look to the data used as the basis for the approval to ‘benchmark’ the kind and quality of data required for approval.
It’s a very exciting time for CAR-T therapy, and for immunotherapy in general, with Kymriah’s approval coming shortly after the announcement of Gilead’s $11.9bn acquisition of Kite Pharma. Immunotherapy companies will take enormous encouragement from these recent developments, and investment funds will be looking to add an immunotherapy component to their portfolio, or to expand existing investment.