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Kite Pharma, Gilead’s cell therapy subsidiary, said on Tuesday it would buy Tmunity, a biotech that was co-founded by the CAR-T pioneer Carl June but largely went dark after two patients died in a prostate cancer trial last year.

The focus of the deal, however, won’t be on Tmunity’s efforts to develop cell therapies for solid tumors, the ambitious goal that helped raise over $230 million from VCs and nonprofits. CAR-T therapies — in which a patients’ T cells are removed, strapped with a tumor-seeking homing beacon and re-infused — have been curative in multiple blood cancers, but they have proven far trickier to apply in solid tumors like lung or breast cancer.


Perhaps even trickier than June imagined a couple of years ago, the University of Pennsylvania professor acknowledged in an interview. 

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