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AIS Executive Chairman Mitch Gold (right)
AIS Executive Chairman Mitch Gold (right)

Seattle-based immunotherapy startup Alpine Immune Sciences has signed an exclusive licensing deal with Kite Pharma that could be worth as much as $530 million if the startup’s cancer-fighting treatments pan out.

AIS, which was founded earlier this year with funding from Alpine BioVentures, will receive an upfront payment of $5 million with additional payments to support AIS’ ongoing research. But the contract could be worth significantly more if the company hits certain research, clinical and regulatory milestones.

“We look forward to working with Kite, a company that uniquely understands the complexities surrounding cancer biology,” AIS Executive Chairman Mitch Gold said in a press release announcing the news.

Alpine Immune SciencesGold was the CEO of Dendreon until 2012, when that cancer-treatment biotech began cutting back amid disappointing drug results. He founded Seattle-based healthcare investment firm Alpine BioVentures in 2013, and in 2015 became the chairman at AIS.

The company is just getting started, but the ultimate goal is to engineer the next generation of therapies to more effectively treat cancer.

“The field of immuno-oncology has the potential to significantly improve the outcome of patients with cancer,” Kite CEO Arie Belldegrun said in a statement. “This collaboration is another example of Kite’s continuing commitment to advancing our pipeline through transformative technologies grounded in innovative science.”

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