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Gilead (GILD) Inks Deal to Develop Allogeneic Cell Therapies

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Gilead Sciences, Inc. (GILD - Free Report) recently announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Kite, has entered into a strategic partnership with San Diego, CA-based private biotech, Shoreline Biosciences, Inc. to develop novel cell therapies for treating various types of cancer indications.

The collaboration will integrate Kite’s expertise in developing novel allogeneic candidates for a range of hematologic malignancies with Shoreline’s expertise in iPSC differentiation and genetic reprogramming. The deal will initially focus on developing chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) NK targets with Kite having an option to expand to include an iPSC CAR Macrophage program. With this deal, Kite is looking to optimize the therapeutic potential of cell therapy.

Per the deal, Kite will pay an undisclosed amount of upfront payment to Shoreline. Further, the latter will be eligible to receive additional payments of more than $2.3 billion along with royalties based on development and commercial milestone payment.

Shares of Gilead have gained 15.4% so far this year against the industry’s decline of 1.5%.

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We note that, Gilead is actively seeking buyouts to further strengthen its portfolio and pipeline. The company acquired Kite Pharma to foray into the emerging field of cell therapy.

Kite is a pioneer in cell therapy having developed engineered cell therapies that express either a CAR or an engineered T cell receptor (TCR), depending on the type of cancer.

Gilead’s CAR T cell therapy franchise comprises Yescarta and Tecartus.

Yescarta is approved for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma, while Tecartus is approved for the treatment of relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma. Both drugs are gaining traction and have bolstered the cell therapy product franchise for Gilead.

Last October, Gilead acquired oncology company, Immunomedics, for around $21 billion. The buyout added Trodelvy (sacituzumab govitecan-hziy), a first-in-class antibody-drug conjugate (ADC), to Gilead’s portfolio. The drug is approved for treating metastatic triple-negative breast cancer, a difficult cancer to treat. The drug has also been approved for urothelial cancer.

The addition of Trodelvy is likely to provide a boost to Gilead’s efforts in developing a strong and diverse oncology portfolio.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Gilead currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the biotech sector are Repligen Corporation (RGEN - Free Report) , Kamada Ltd. (KMDA - Free Report) and Bio-Techne Corporation (TECH - Free Report) , all carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) at present.You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Repligen’s earnings estimates have been revised 18.3% and 14.7% upward for 2021 and 2022, respectively, over the past 60 days. The stock has increased 4.2% year to date.

Kamada’s earnings estimates have been revised 21.4% and 18.1% upward for 2021 and 2022, respectively, over the past 60 days.

Bio-Techne’s earnings estimates have been revised upward by 8.8% and 9.1% for 2021 and 2022, respectively, over the past 60 days. The stock has surged 40.2% year to date.

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