Since the start of the year, Gilead has been busy making small-scale deals to expand its pipeline, including a $4.9bn (€4.4bn) deal for oncology-focused Forty Seven and a microbiome agreement with Second Genome.
The company has followed this up with a $2bn deal to gain access to Arcus Biosciences’ pipeline of antibodies.
The agreement sees Arcus receive a $175m payment upfront and an equity investment of $200m. Further than this, there is up to $1.6bn reserved for milestone payments depending on the development of existing clinical candidates.
In total, the partnership between the two companies will run to 10 years, with Gilead having the option to opt-in on any program that Arcus develops during this timeframe.
Pipeline at the center of the deal
According to Daniel O’Day, CEO of Gilead, the main draw of the deal was to bolster the company’s ‘growing presence’ in immuno-oncology.
At the heart of Arcus’ portfolio is zimberelimab (AB122), which is an investigational anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody (mAb), and AB154, an investigational anti-TIG mAb.
In addition, the company has two small molecule drug candidates, in AB680 and AB928 – which are being investigated alongside the two mAbs.
Beyond these four clinical candidates, the company also has six preclinical molecules in development. At present, Arcus has 10 ongoing clinical trials investigating the potential of these candidates.
Gilead will gain immediate access to zimberelimab, while it will also hold the option to opt into the three other clinical-stage programs for fees ranging from $200m to $275m.
In regard to any further research programs if Gilead chooses to opt-in, the company will be due to pay a fee of $150m per program after the delivery of a ‘qualifying data package’.
On any optioned projects, the partners will co-develop and co-commercialize in the US – sharing profits and costs. Outside of the US, Gilead will hold the exclusive rights to commercialize the product.
A last part of the deal will see Gilead have the right to install two individuals onto Arcus’ board of directors.