Gilead Invests in Immuno-oncology

Company makes deals with Agenus in immuno-oncology and Scholar Rock Holding Corp. in NASH Therapies.

Gilead Sciences has had tremendous success with its hepatitis C business, and the company is taking steps to build out other areas of expertise. Daniel O’Day, previously with Roche, will become CEO on March 31. In the meantime, the company is making notable deals to boost Gilead’s positioning in the cancer space. The most recent deals are with Scholar Rock Holding Corp., which specializes in non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) therapies, and Agenus, a biotech company specializing in immuno-oncology drug development. 

For exclusive options to license product candidates that target the cell-signaling protein transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) for the treatment of fibrotic diseases that come from three of Scholar Rock’s programs, Gilead will pay $50 million upfront, purchase $30 million of the company’s common stock and lay out up to $1.45 billion in various milestone payments.

Agenus will receive $120 million and $30 million in equity investment upfront from Gilead. The company also has the potential to earn a total of $1.7 billion with additional milestone payments for its access to five preclinical compounds, including two bispecific cancer therapies. This deal complements Gilead’s investment in CAR-T cell therapy technology, which it acquired with the $12 billion purchase of Kite Pharma.



Cynthia A. Challener, Ph.D.

Dr. Challener is an established industry editor and technical writing expert in the areas of chemistry and pharmaceuticals. She writes for various corporations and associations, as well as marketing agencies and research organizations, including That’s Nice and Nice Insight.