Gilead spells out allogeneic cell therapy doubts
Slow progress with allogeneic cell therapies has prompted understandable scepticism, but the bluntness of Gilead’s opinions on these approaches is still notable. These were delivered by Christi Shaw, head of the group's Kite business, on a media call alongside Gilead’s earnings yesterday: she said it would be “be quite a while, if ever” before off-the-shelf cell therapies caught up with autologous offerings. Harnessing a person’s own cells will remain the mainstay of therapies in the future, she said, thanks to improvements in efficacy and manufacturing, particularly as products move into earlier treatment lines. Deals with Arcellx and Tmunity were examples of Gilead “doubling down” on autologous cell therapy, although the “door is open” to new approaches. The backdrop here is Yescarta, whose sales have picked up pace largely thanks to a second-line lymphoma label. Whether the highly complex Car-T space can become a profitable is still an open question, however. While manufacturing times are improving, bottlenecks elsewhere are still preventing these therapies from reaching their potential. Perhaps Gilead has decided that its efforts are better focused on improving what it already has. Over to the allogeneic players, like Allogene, Crispr, Precision and Caribou, to sort out the durability problem.