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Gilead and Arcus complete closing of ten-year immunotherapy partnership

Deal emphasises Gilead's focus on immuno-oncology

Gilead

In May, Gilead and Arcus Biosciences announced their intent to partner on the development and commercialisation of next-generation cancer immunotherapies, and have now closed the agreement.

Under the terms of the agreement, Arcus is set to receive $375m upon closing, consisting of a $175m upfront payment and a $200m equity investment from Gilead. Arcus is eligible to receive up to $1.225bn in opt-in and milestone payments with respect to its current clinical product candidates.

In return, Gilead will gain access to Arcus’ current and future investigational immuno-oncology products, as Gilead continues to expand its presence in the field. This includes the immediate rights to zimberelimab, an investigational anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody, as well as the right to opt-in to all of Arcus’ other current clinical candidates upon payment of an opt-in fee that ranges from $200m to $275m per programme.

Arcus has ten ongoing clinical studies of molecules in its portfolio, including a randomised phase 2 study in first-line non-small cell lung cancer evaluating combinations of three of its candidates – AB154, an investigational anti-TIGIT monoclonal antibody; AB928, an investigational A2aR/A2bR antagonist, and zimberelimab.

“Gilead is committed to accessing the world’s best innovation in immuno-oncology and our agreement with Arcus further demonstrates that commitment,” said Daniel O’Day, chairman and chief executive officer, Gilead Sciences.

“By gaining access to its broad, diverse pipeline and Arcus’ clear strengths in discovery and development, we believe that our partnership with Arcus will significantly accelerate our progress in developing transformative new therapies for cancer,” he added.

Gilead has been expanding into immuno-oncology since the start of 2019 under the direction of new chief exec O’Day, in a bid to bulk up its pipeline amid pressure on its HIV and hepatitis franchises.

That includes a $4.9bn deal signed in March to acquire Forty Seven, a company that specialises in cancer immunotherapies targeting the CD47 immune checkpoint. Studies have suggested that blocking CD47, a cell membrane receptor found on the surface of many tumour types, could send some tumour cells into programmed cell death (apoptosis).

Gilead also signed a deal with Galapagos, worth $5.1bn, which doubled its research and development capacity and added at least six drugs to its pipeline. It also signed a $2.35bn deal with Nurix for protein degradation drugs for cancer and other diseases, as well as a $11.9bn acquisition of CAR-T cell therapy player Kite Pharma.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

14th July 2020

From: Research

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