Gilead Sciences to acquire HDV drug developer MYR in €1.4bn deal

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Gilead Sciences acquisition of MYR : US biopharma giant Gilead Sciences has agreed to acquire MYR, a German biotech company engaged in developing therapies for chronic hepatitis delta virus (HDV), in a deal worth up to €1.45 billion.

The consideration consists of nearly €1.15 billion in cash, which will be paid at the time of closing the deal, followed by up to €300 million in the form of potential future milestone payments.

Through the acquisition, Gilead Sciences gains access to Hepcludex (bulevirtide), which was granted conditional approval in July 2020 by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for the treatment of chronic HDV infection in adults having compensated liver disease.

Following the approval, MYR launched Hepcludex in France, Germany and Austria, while continuing to prepare for rolling it out in certain other markets in 2021.

The acquisition by Gilead Sciences is anticipated to fast track the worldwide launch of Hepcludex.

Daniel O’Day – Chairman and CEO of Gilead Sciences, commenting on Gilead Sciences acquisition of MYR, said: “HDV is a devastating disease with high unmet medical need. With Hepcludex we have the opportunity to address that need with a first-in-class therapy.

“We look forward to working with the team at MYR to realize the full potential of Hepcludex for patients with HDV worldwide. This will build on the work that Gilead has been doing for almost two decades to innovate and improve therapies for viral hepatitis.”

By binding to sodium taurocholate cotransporting polypeptide (NTCP), Hepcludex is said to block viral entry into liver cells.

It is the first and also presently the only drug to be conditionally approved for HDV treatment by the EMA.

MYR expects to submit application for accelerated approval of Hepcludex in the US in the latter half of 2021. The drug candidate has both orphan drug and breakthrough therapy designations from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of chronic HDV infection.

Commenting on Gilead Sciences acquisition of MYR, Dmitry Popov – CEO of MYR said: “We are proud of our achievement in bringing Hepcludex from preclinical stage to patients in need within such a short timeframe.

“We are excited to join Gilead, whose experience in the hepatitis field and global infrastructure will realize the full potential of Hepcludex and provide access to as many patients as possible around the world with this debilitating disease.”

The closing of Gilead Sciences acquisition of MYR is subject to certain customary closing conditions and merger control approvals in some European jurisdictions.

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