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Gilead & Galapagos Close Research & Development Agreement

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Gilead Sciences, Inc. (GILD - Free Report) closed global research and development collaboration agreement with Galapagos NV (GLPG - Free Report) .

The agreement, which was signed on Jul 14, 2019, received clearance from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 and merger control approval from the Austrian Federal Competition Authority.

Both the companies entered a 10-year global research and development collaboration, whereby Gilead will gain access to an innovative portfolio of compounds, including six molecules currently in clinical trials, more than 20 preclinical programs and a proven drug discovery platform. The company will receive an exclusive product license and option rights to develop and commercialize all current and future programs in all countries outside Europe.

Both companies have agreed to amend certain terms of the agreement, involving filgotinib, the candidate being advanced for rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases, to create a broader commercialization role for Galapagos in Europe.

Per the agreement, the closure leads to an upfront license fee payment of $3.95 billion by Gilead to Galapagos. Additionally, Gilead has made an equity investment of $1.1 billion in Galapagos by subscribing for new shares. Consequently, the company now owns 13,589,686 ordinary shares of Galapagos, representing approximately 22% of the currently outstanding share capital of Galapagos.

Earlier in the month, the European Medicines Agency (“EMA”) accepted the marketing authorization application (“MAA”) for filgotinib. The MAA is seeking approval of the drug as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis in Europe. The MAA includes data from the phase III clinical program, FINCH, which comprises three studies.

Gilead’s stock has dipped 0.1% in the year so far compared with the industry's decline of 3.4%.

 

Gilead has shifted focus to the HIV franchise, and newer avenues like CAR-T therapy and inflammation, due to a decline in sales of the HCV franchise. The company is signing deals with other companies to strengthen its pipeline for the inflammation market. Gilead has also collaborated with Novo Nordisk (NVO - Free Report) for NASH treatments.

Zacks Rank & A Stock to Consider

Gilead currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).  A better-ranked biotech is Alexion Pharmaceuticals, (ALXN - Free Report) which carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Alexion’s earnings estimates have been revised 4.2% upward for 2019 and 2.1% for 2020 over the past 60 days.

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