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Gilead Inks Deal With Jounce to License an Oncology Candidate

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Gilead Sciences, Inc. (GILD - Free Report) entered into an agreement with Jounce Therapeutics, Inc. (JNCE - Free Report) , to exclusively license the latter’s novel immunotherapy candidate, JTX-1811

JTX-1811 is an anti-CCR8 monoclonal antibody,which can selectively deplete immuno suppressive tumor-infiltrating T regulatory (TITR) cells. JTX-1811 targets CCR8, a chemokine receptor thatis rich in TITR cells. JTX-1811 depletes these TITR cells by enhanced antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity mechanism.

This deal is expected to close in the second half of 2020.

Shares of Gilead have increased 1.3% year to date compared with the industry’s growth of 0.6%.

Under the terms of the agreement, Gilead will make an upfront payment of $85 million and a $35-million equity investment in Jounce. Additionally, Jounce may receive up to an additional $685 million in future milestone payments. Jounce will also be eligible to receive royalties on future sales, if the candidate is eventually approved.

Jounce will have the responsibility for the development of JTX-1811 through IND clearance, and thereafter, Gilead will have the sole right to develop the candidate.

Jounce plans to file an investigational new drug (IND) application to the FDAin the first half of 2021 to begin clinical studies on JTX-1811as a treatment for people with both solid tumors and hematological malignancies.

JTX-1811 is a strategic addition to Gilead’s investigational immune-oncological treatment portfolio. The candidate has the potential to become a new class of treatment for haematological malignancies.

The company has various oncology candidates in its pipeline. It is developing several pre-clinical product candidates, including CAR T and TCR therapies, for prostate cancer and hepatocellular carcinoma. The company’s pipeline includes mavrilimumab, an investigational, fully-human monoclonal antibody that targets granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor receptor alpha, in combination with Yescarta, in patients with relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Gilead currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some better-ranked stocks in the healthcare sector include Emergent Biosolutions Inc. (EBS - Free Report) and Horizon Therapeutics Public Limited Company (HZNP - Free Report) , both sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Emergent’s earnings estimates have increased from $3.45 to $6.32 for 2020 and from $4.31 to $7.01 for 2021 over the past 60 days. Shares of the company have increased 105.4% year to date.

Horizon Therapeutics’ earnings estimates have increased from $1.78 to $2.86 for 2020 and from $2.74 to $4.29 for 2021 over the past 60 days. Shares of the company have increased 108.5% year to date.



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