Kite Pharma in hot water after death in cancer treatment trial, claims it’s not them

Kite Pharma in hot water after death in cancer treatment trial, claims it’s not them

The company has had to fight off allegations that its new cancer treatment caused the death of a patient, sending stocks plummeting.

As Kite Pharma’s shares jump, it’s fending off accusations that a cancer trial is to blame for a patient’s death, calling it “noise and misinformation” in a recent conference call with analysts.

While the company acknowledges that a cancer patient had died during a trial of its KTE-C19 cell therapy, meant to deal with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, it wasn’t at all related to this treatment, according to a Los Angeles Times report.

The company claims that an in-depth review of the death found that it had nothing to do with Kite’s product, and in fact the Food and Drug Administration allowed the company to continue with its trial.

Kite shares dipped on Thursday after news of the patient death caused concerns that it would result in a delay of the trial, with its stock diving 19 percent off its Wednesday closing before finally rebounding somewhat to lessen the losses.

KTE-C19 is an experimental therapy meant for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma sufferers who have a poor prognosis. The therapy involves modifying the T white blood cells genetically so that they will attack the cancer cells.

The stock jumped 4 percent on Monday to get it back to closer where it was before the dip on Wednesday thanks to the comments that seemed to reassure investors. And Kite Chief Executive Arie Belldegrun said during the conference call that the trial is having huge success, with tumors “melting away in weeks,” according to the report.

Pharmaceutical companies typically don’t release detailed information on clinical trials that are ongoing, but Kite apparently feels pressure from investors to explain what is going on in the wake of the cancer death. Belldegrun said that neither the FDA nor any other regulatory body has placed the clinical trial on hold. Further, Kite plans to present more data at a meeting in Florida later this year.

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