Gilead takes a punt on preclinical Pionyr

Snippets

Another oncology deal from Gilead – and, just like the Arcus Biosciences pact a month ago, it’s not a takeover. This time Gilead has bought a 49.9% interest in Pionyr Immunotherapeutics, whose preclinical-stage projects aim to treat patients who see no benefit from checkpoint inhibitors. Gilead is paying $275m up front and has the exclusive option to take the rest of Pionyr for $315m; following that, potential milestone payments could total $1.15bn. The acquisition option may be exercised before the completion of phase Ib trials of two of Pionyr’s solid tumour candidates, PY314 and PY159, INDs for which are expected to be filed in the coming quarter. According to Pionyr, PY314 is designed to deplete immunosuppressive, pro-tumour myeloid cells, thereby upping anti-tumour immunity. PY159 is designed to “reprogramme” immunosuppressive myeloid cells such as macrophages, neutrophils and myeloid-derived suppressor cells, causing them to stimulate a pro-inflammatory, anti-tumour immune response. Gilead will also part-fund the development of these and other projects. Clearly biotech deals are still getting done despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

Gilead's recent oncology deals
Date Deal type Target company Value ($m)*
Jun 2020 Option Pionyr Immunotherapeutics 275
May 2020 Licensing & R&D collaboration Arcus Biosciences 375
Apr 2020 Acquisition Forty Seven 4,900
Jun 2019 R&D collaboration Carna Biosciences 20
Jun 2019 R&D collaboration Nurix 45
Dec 2018 Licensing Agenus 150
Oct 2018 R&D collaboration Hifibio Therapeutics 10
Jul 2018 Option Gadeta Not discl
Dec 2017 Acquisition Cell Design Labs 567
Oct 2017 Acquisition Kite Pharma 11,900
*Up-front only if licensing deal. Source: EvaluatePharma.

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