Biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences announced Monday its plans to acquire California-based Kite Pharma for roughly $11.9 billion.
The Washington Post reports that Kite belongs to a small cluster of companies pushing forward in a new branch of cancer therapies called CAR-T. The treatment involves genetically-modified immune cells which can combat disease.
Novartis’ Kymriah on Wednesday became the U.S.’s first CAR-T inhibitor to receive a green light by the Food and Drug Administration.
Gilead has received its fair share of controversy due to its $84,000 hepatitis C drug. The company was in 2015 under congressional investigation for the drug’s price.
According to the Washington Post, Gilead declined to comment on pricing — the Kite Pharma acquisition isn’t expected to close until the end of 2017.
“What I think we need is a balance, or equilibrium, rewarding the investment that was made — which is considerable — to manufacture these cells for each and every patient, against the ability of patients who desperately need these treatments to have access,” American Society of Hematology President Kenneth Anderson said.
Both companies say they expect federal regulators to make a decision on the cancer treatment sometime in November.