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CAR-T is bringing true precision to the fight against cancer

Published on 01/11/17 at 11:28am
Image credit: Novartis

Matt Fellows investigates how the first-ever CAR-T therapy approvals in the past months could mean the field of cancer treatment is changed forever

To this day, cancer still remains one of the greatest challenges for healthcare professionals around the world. In all of its forms, the disease is one of the leading causes of death globally, accounting for almost one in six deaths worldwide, claiming the lives of 8.8 million in 2015 alone, according to statistics published by the World Health Organization.

Gilead promotes Alessandro Riva to Senior VP, Hematology and Oncology Therapeutic Area Head

Published on: 24/10/17

Gilead had revealed that it has promoted Dr Alessandro Riva, its Senior Vice President, Hematology and Oncology Therapeutic Area Head, to the position of Executive Vice President, Oncology Therapeutics. In his new role, he will hold responsibility for the company’s hematology and oncology programmes, including cell therapy research and development.

Gilead gets FDA nod for revolutionary blood cancer treatment

Only weeks after Gilead announced the completion of Kite, it got the news it was hoping for with the FDA's approval for the CAR-T therapy, Yescarta, to become only the second treatment on the market.

The therapy still has a way to go to recoup the $12 billion Gilead agreed to takeover Kite, however, with a price $373,000 per treatment and an ability to expand the indication, it’s looking like a sound deal – investors seem to agree, with shares up 4%.

Gilead completes £11.9 billion Kite Pharma acquisition

Gilead has announced that it has completed its acquisition of Kite Pharma after the deal was announced on 28 August this year. Gilead now owns Kite Pharma via a transaction by its wholly-owned subsidiary Dodgers Merger Sub, valuing the company at $180 per share, or $11.9 billion.

Gilead’s COO retires, shares take a dive

Image: Gilead's senior management team, with Kevin Young second from left

Gilead has announced that Kevin Young, its Chief Operating Officer, is set to retire from the company in early 2018. The market reacted to the news with apparent surprise, by ducking more than 4% lower on the announcement.

It should not really have come as much of a shock, given that Young had previously come out of semi-retirement to take on the role last year; it always seemed a temporary arrangement, with speculation that his main purpose was to ensure the smooth acquisition of Kite Pharma.

Anti-HIV drug PrEP proves safety in gay and bisexual adolescents

A new study has found that pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) drugs such as Gilead's Truvada (emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate), which pre-emptively protects against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), is safe to be used by gay and bisexual adolescent men. This follows the treatment’s proven efficacy and safety in adult patients, where it was found to reduce the risk of infection by more than 90%, leading to its approval by the FDA in 2012.

Gilead captures Kite in $11.9bn deal

Gilead had long been expected to make a serious acquisition to boost flagging growth and it finally made a move by announcing its plan to takeover Kite Pharma in an $11.9 billion deal. The move allows them access to the ground-breaking CAR-T therapy that has seen Kite emerge, alongside Novartis, as a frontrunner in the field.

Gilead set to open $250m, 23-acre campus

Gilead is set for the grand unveiling of its new facility in La Verne, Southern California, after several years of work. The facility, once it is running at full capacity, is it to create jobs for 500 workers.

The campus will initially focus on the manufacture of AmBisome, an antifungal medication that is used to combat fungal infections and a form of meningitis in people carrying HIV. As well as this, the campus will have the capacity to package, label and distribute other treatments owned by the company, including its hepatitis C treatments.

Nine in 10 people unaware they have hepatitis

The WHO has released a report on the state of hepatitis prevention and treatment to mark World Hepatitis Day, with an emphasis that much work is left to be done to combat the viral infection.

The organisation called for national responses towards hepatitis elimination to be accelerated and suggested that, at best, only one in 10 people were aware that they had the illness.

In further cause of concern, it released the figures that 325 million people were affected by viral hepatitis and the viral infection led to 1.34 million deaths in 2015.

FDA gives approval for Gilead's hepatitis C therapy

The FDA has announced that it has chosen to approve Vosevi (sofosbuvir/velpatasvir/voxilaprevir), Gilead’s investigational drug for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV), a month after the organisation’s Committee for Medicines Products for Human Use (CHMP) recommended its use.

Specifically, the drug is approved for the indication of chronic HCV genotypes 1-6 without cirrhosis (liver disease) or with mild cirrhosis, meaning it is the first approved drug for patients previously treated with NS5a inhibitors such as sofosbuvir.

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