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Gilead's Kite to collaborate with Sangamo to develop cell therapies for cancer

Gilead Sciences Inc.'s newly added Kite Pharma unit entered a multibillion-dollar agreement to develop cancer treatments using Sangamo Therapeutics, Inc.'s gene editing technology platform.

The Santa Monica, Calif.-based biopharmaceutical company, acquired by Gilead last year, will pay Sangamo $150 million in up-front cash to access its zinc finger nuclease technology platform.

Sangamo can earn up to a further $3.01 billion in milestone payments, aggregated across 10 or more products developed using the Richmond, Calif.-based company's technology.

Sangamo will also receive royalties on the sale of products commercialized.

Kite hopes to develop ex vivo cell therapies for cancer, in which cells, after being altered outside the body, are administered to patients for purposes of treatment.

"The emergence of gene editing as a tool to edit immune cells holds promise in the development of therapies with potentially improved safety, efficacy, and efficiency," Gilead CEO and President John Milligan said in a statement.