Issue Date: December 17, 2012
Gilead Makes Oncology Buy
In a bid to bolster its oncology pipeline, Gilead Sciences will pay $510 million to acquire Ontario-based YM BioSciences. The centerpiece of the deal is CYT387, an aminopyrimidine derivative that blocks JAK1 and JAK2, two enzymes implicated in rare blood cancers called myeloproliferative neoplasms. YM recently unveiled promising data from a Phase I/II study of CYT387 to treat myelofibrosis, a chronic bone marrow disorder. Gilead says it will launch a Phase III study of the compound in the second half of 2013. If approved, CYT387 will compete with Incyte’s Jakafi, a JAK inhibitor that won FDA approval in November 2011. The YM deal marks the second major oncology acquisition for Gilead. In early 2011, it bought Seattle-based Calistoga Pharmaceuticals for up to $600 million. That purchase brought CAL-101, a PI3K-δ inhibitor currently in Phase III trials to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
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