Gilead’s oncology company Kite and US-based Arcellx have expanded the scope of the collaboration for the latter’s CART-ddBCMA to include lymphomas with a new investment of $285m.

CART-ddBCMA is Arcellx’s candidate to treat patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma.

The strategic collaboration, signed in December last year, was intended to co-develop and co-commercialise CART-ddBCMA, which is currently in the Phase 2 clinical development phase.

Under the expanded collaboration, Kite has exercised its option to negotiate a licence for Arcellx’s ARC-SparX programme, ACLX-001, in multiple myeloma.

ACLX-001 is made from ARC-T cells and SparX proteins that target B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA).

Kite executive vice president Cindy Perettie said: “We are pleased to see the momentum with the CART-ddBCMA multiple myeloma program, enabling Kite to enter an area of high unmet need and bring a new, potentially best-in-class cell therapy to patients.

“Given this, we are deepening our relationship with Arcellx to further support the advancement of CART-ddBCMA, bolster our pipeline in multiple myeloma, as well as access opportunities in lymphoma.

“In expanding our strategic partnership with Arcellx, we are building upon the established synergy between Arcellx’s platform technologies and Kite’s industry-leading position in CAR T manufacturing and commercialisation.”

After the deal closes, the American biotech will get an equity investment of $200m to buy 3,242,542 shares of its common stock, extending the company’s cash runway until 2027.

Gilead’s anticipated shareholding after this investment is 13%. Additionally, Arcellx will also receive an additional $85m in upfront non-dilutive cash at closing.

Furthermore, Arcellx will be eligible for potential milestone payments to offset prespecified development costs over a limited period, such as the advancement of lymphoma and the license for ARC-SparX.

The deal is anticipated to close by the end of 2023, subject to the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvement Act’s waiting period expiration or termination, as well as other customary conditions.

Arcellx’s chairman and CEO Rami Elghandour said: “We are excited to deepen our relationship with Kite as they continue to invest in our platform by exercising their rights to our ACLX001 ARC-SparX programme in multiple myeloma and increasing their investment in our company.

“With this additional investment from Kite, our strengthened cash position is anticipated to extend our runway into 2027, as we advance towards commercialising CART-ddBCMA.”