LOS ANGELES, May 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Kite Pharma, Inc. (Kite), a clinical stage biotechnology company focused on developing engineered autologous T cell therapy (eACT) products for cancer, today announced the appointment of Keith Nolop, M.D. as Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Nolop, who brings to Kite over 20 years of successful drug development experience at both biotechnology and global pharmaceutical companies, was previously Senior Vice President of Development and Chief Medical Officer at Plexxikon (a member of the Daiichi Sankyo Group).
"Dr. Nolop's vast experience in drug development from conception to approval will be instrumental to advancing Kite's eACT products through multi-center clinical trials and on to registration," said Aya Jakobovits, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Kite Pharma. "We are very pleased to welcome him to the Kite management team."
While at Plexxikon, Dr. Nolop was the clinical lead for the development of vemurafenib (Zelboraf®), a first-in-class selective inhibitor of mutated BRAF in melanoma co-developed with Hoffman-La Roche and approved worldwide in 2011. He also led the filing of eight Investigational New Drug applications since joining Plexxikon in 2004, including other selective kinase inhibitors in hematological and solid tumor indications. Before joining Plexxikon, Dr. Nolop was Vice President of Clinical Research for CoTherix, where he led the development and U.S. approval for Ventavis®. Prior to CoTherix, Dr. Nolop spent 11 years at Schering-Plough, where he was the clinical lead for three drug approvals, including Nasonex®.
"The innovative eACT approach shows tremendous potential for inducing significant and durable remissions," said Dr. Nolop. "Kite has a promising product pipeline and a very experienced management team. I am thrilled to join them in developing this new cancer modality."
Dr. Nolop received his M.D. degree with honors from Vanderbilt University, where he completed his residency and fellowship. He is an author of over 50 peer-reviewed publications.
About the eACT Platform
Clinical evidence has demonstrated that a patients' peripheral blood T cells, which have been engineered with T cell receptor (TCRs) and Chimeric Antigen Receptors (CARs) that recognize tumor specific molecules, can traffic directly to the tumor, become activated upon engagement with the tumor antigen, and selectively eradicate tumors. Clinical studies performed at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) using these types of engineered peripheral blood T cells have been associated with significant and durable objective clinical responses in cancer patients with advanced metastatic disease, including those with refractory melanoma, sarcoma, lymphoma and leukemia. These encouraging results highlight eACT as an emerging therapeutic modality that could provide new personalized targeted therapy options for cancer patients spanning the spectrum of disease from its early stages to the salvage setting.
About Kite Pharma
Kite Pharma, Inc. is a privately held development stage biotechnology company engaged in the development of novel cancer immunotherapeutic products, with focus on engineered autologous T cell therapeutics targeted to different tumor types. Kite is engaged in the development of these novel cancer therapies in partnership with the NCI under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA). In addition, the company is advancing a novel therapeutic cancer vaccine aimed to trigger potent and specific immunity against multiple epithelial cancers, which has the potential to complement its eACT programs.
Kite is based in Los Angeles, CA. For more information, visit the company's website at www.kitepharma.com.
Aya Jakobovits, Ph.D.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Kite Pharma, Inc.
(310) 824-9999 x 201
(415) 821 2413
SOURCE Kite Pharma, Inc.