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Kite Pharma Confirms That Patient Death Was Unrelated To Cancer Treatment Study

Kite Pharma Incorporated’s shares began to plummet last week after rumors circulated the market that a patient in one of the company’s trials for a new cancer treatment therapy, KTE-C19, had died. These rumors caused panic in investors who believed that the company’s trial for KTE-C19 would be delayed.

On Monday however, Kite, which is based in Santa Monica, addressed said rumors. According to a report made by Tech Times,  the company stated in a press release that the patient’s death was not related to their blood cancer treatment in any way. In addition, Chief Executive of the company, Arie Belldegrun, stated that the company did consult with the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after the patient’s death, and the FDA did not require them to pause the study due to concerns about patients’ safety.

A review of the patient’s death was also conducted by the clinical investigator of the study, and he found that the death was not related to the patient’s treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. According to Forbes, investors should not have been shocked at the death of any patient participating in this study, due to the fact that the treatment is targeted towards patients who have been failed by all prior treatment attempts.

KTE-C19 is a therapy specifically for patients suffering from aggressive forms of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and have a poor general prognosis. The therapy genetically modifies T white blood cells in patients so that they attack cancerous cells. In addressing the concerns of investors, Belldegrun stated that the trial has shown “tumors melting away in weeks” as well as “complete responses” coming from the patients, who are desperate for a cure.

We have seen tumors melting away in weeks and complete responses in a very sick and desperate group of patients with one of the worst types of aggressive cancers (…) It is not now, nor has it ever been, on any type of clinical hold by the FDA or any other regulatory body.

It is not a common practice for companies, especially ones in such a competitive market as pharmaceutics, to disclose reports of ongoing clinical trials. However, Kite thought it necessary to address what it classified as false reports that its clinical trial may be suspended due to the death. Since Kite has come forward to clarify these harmful rumors, the stock has gained $2.32 or 4 percent, closing at $60.32 on Monday.

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