Kite Pharma has appointed Chris Nowers as its new Head of Europe to oversee European commercial operations, raise awareness of Kite’s pipeline portfolio of CAR and T-cell receptor (TCR) therapy product candidates, and prepare for the potential regional launch of Kite’s lead candidate, KTE-C19.
KTE-C19 is an investigational therapy in which a patient’s T-cells are engineered to express a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) targeting CD19 – a protein expressed on the cell surface of B-cell lymphomas and leukemias – and redirect the T-cells to kill cancer cells.
In the European Union, KTE-C19 received regulatory support for the treatment of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) by the European Medicines Agency’s Priority Medicines, and Kite now wants to follow up on its regulatory development.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation to KTE-C19 for the treatment of DLBCL, transformed follicular lymphoma (TFL), and primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma (PMBCL).
Before joining Kite, Nowers held senior commercial leadership positions at Bristol-Myers Squibb – he led the launch of Opdivo (nivolumab) and Yervoy (ipilimumab) in France – at Genomic Health and at Avantogen Oncology, with three decades of commercial experience in pharmaceutical and biotech companies.
Nowers has a successful track record of driving differentiated strategies for product commercialization across therapeutic areas in a competitive global landscape.
“The addition of Chris Nowers to our executive team will be instrumental to Kite as we expand our global footprint,” Dr. Arie Belldegrun, MD, FACS, Kite Pharma’s chairman, president and CEO, said in a press release. “The breadth of Chris’ commercial experience in global immuno-oncology is impressive, and makes him well-qualified to propel our pipeline of CAR-T and TCR therapy candidates to treat both blood-based and solid cancers into international markets.”
Kite will host an investor day on Oct. 18 to share advances on their CAR and TCR product candidates. The event will have a live webcast (available at “Events and Presentations” under the Investors tab section on Kite’s website) from its start at noon Eastern Time. After the live webcast, a replay will be available for review for 30 days.
“Kite is a truly innovative company at the cusp of transforming the paradigm of cancer treatment, and I am honored to play a role in bringing what could potentially be life-changing therapies to patients around the world,” Nowers said. “I look forward to working with such a dynamic and passionate team to advance our presence in Europe and continue our efforts in developing novel approaches in engineered cell therapy.”