Scoop: Gilead’s CAR-T player Kite waves goodbye to research chief Peter Emtage as another top exec hits the exit

Endpoints News has learned that Peter Emtage, the head of research at Gilead CAR-T subsidiary Kite, is leaving the company at the end of this month.

A spokesperson for Gilead confirmed the move, saying that Emtage “has decided to leave Kite to pursue another opportunity. Peter’s last day with Kite will be September 30.”

Peter has built a cutting-edge Research organization that has applied innovative immunology, synthetic biology and translational sciences to advance the science in cell therapy through a number of Phase 1 and investigator sponsored trial programs.

Each of those areas offer Emtage expertise in one of the hottest fields in drug research that could open any number of doors.

The buzz around the West Coast biotech scene has been that Emtage has been interested in scouting out something to pursue on his own, following a well-blazed trail of talent that has left Kite since the $12 billion buyout in 2017.

Ken Takeshita, SVP and global head of clinical development, will also become the ad-interim head of research while Kite chief Christy Shaw goes out in search of a successor for Emtage.

Emtage joined Kite back in 2018, right after the new owners at Gilead bought out Cell Design Labs, where he had been the chief scientific officer working on new tech related to CAR-Ts. Kite had helped to launch Cell Design Labs — founded on the technology orchestrated by UC San Francisco star researcher Wendell Lim — when Arie Belldegrun and David Chang ran the show.

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