Gilead (GILD) Company Kite Gains FDA Approval For Tecartus

By Dan Anderson ● Oct 2, 2021
  • Kite —  a Gilead Company (Nasdaq: GILD) — announced a major FDA approval recently. These are the details.

Kite —  a Gilead Company (Nasdaq: GILD) — announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted approval for Tecartus (brexucabtagene autoleucel) for the treatment of adult patients (18 years and older) with relapsed or refractory B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). And following FDA Breakthrough Therapy Designation and a priority review, Tecartus is the first and only chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy approved for adults (18 years and older) with ALL.

There is a high unmet need as half of this patient population will relapse and median overall survival (OS) is only approximately 8 months with current standard-of-care treatments. And patients can access Tecartus through 109 authorized treatment centers across the U.S.

The approval is based on the results from ZUMA-3, a global, multicenter, single-arm, open-label study in which 65% of the evaluable patients (n=54) achieved complete remission (CR) or CR with incomplete hematological recovery (CRi) at a median actual follow-up of 12.3 months. And the duration of CR was estimated to exceed 12 months for more than half the patients.

Among efficacy-evaluable patients, the median duration of remission (DOR) was 13.6 months. And among the patients treated with Tecartus at the target dose (n=78), Grade 3 or higher cytokine release syndrome (CRS) and neurologic events occurred in 26% and 35% of patients, respectively, and were generally well-managed.

Adults with relapsed or refractory ALL often undergo multiple treatments including chemotherapy, targeted therapy and stem cell transplant. And CAR T-cell therapy works differently by harnessing a patient’s own immune system to fight cancer. And with CAR T, the patient’s blood is drawn and the T cells are separated. Then the T cells are genetically engineered with a specific receptor that enables them to identify and attack cancer cells, and put back into the patient’s body.

Tecartus is also currently under review in the European Union and United Kingdom for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory B-cell precursor ALL. And the Tecartus U.S. Prescribing Information has a BOXED WARNING for the risks of CRS and neurologic toxicities, and Tecartus is approved with a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) due to these risks; see below for Important Safety Information.


“Adults with ALL face a significantly poorer prognosis compared to children, and roughly half of all adults with B-ALL will relapse on currently available therapies. We now have a new meaningful advancement in treatment for these patients. A single infusion of Tecartus has demonstrated durable responses, suggesting the potential for long-term remission and a new approach to care.”

— Bijal Shah, MD, ZUMA-3 investigator and medical oncologist, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, Florida

“Today marks Kite’s fourth FDA approved indication in cell therapy in under four years, demonstrating our commitment to advancing CAR T for patients across many different hematologic malignancies. Tecartus has already transformed outcomes for adults living with mantle cell lymphoma, and we look forward to offering the hope for a cure to patients with ALL.”

— Christi Shaw, Chief Executive Officer of Kite

“Roughly half of all ALL cases actually occur in adults, and unlike pediatric ALL, adult ALL has historically had a poor prognosis. Developing new therapies that would be life-changing for people with cancer has been a dream of LLS. We are proud to see the potential of CAR T realized for even more people with this approval for brexucabtagene autoleucel.”

— Lee Greenberger, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS)