Gilead Sciences to acquire immuno-oncology company Forty Seven for $4.9bn

Gilead Sciences acquisition of Forty Seven : US biotech company Gilead Sciences has signed an all-cash deal worth around $4.9 billion to acquire Forty Seven, a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company based in California, as per the latest pharma acquisition news.

The immuno-oncology company is being acquired by Gilead Sciences for $95.50 per share in cash.

Through the acquisition, Gilead Sciences gains access to Forty Seven’s investigational lead product candidate magrolimab, which is expected to consolidate the former’s immuno-oncology research and development portfolio.

The monoclonal antibody is currently in clinical development for the treatment of various cancers for which new, transformative drugs are needed urgently. Including in these are acute myeloid leukemia (AML), myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL).

Magrolimab has been designed to target CD47, a “do not eat me” signal that helps cancer cells to evade destruction thereby allowing the patient’s own innate immune system to engulf and kill those cancer cells.

Gilead Sciences said that Forty Seven has delivered promising results of a phase 1b clinical trial of magrolimab in patients with myelodysplastic syndrome and acute myeloid leukemia.

Gilead Sciences acquisition of Forty Seven

Gilead Sciences acquisition of Forty Seven. Image courtesy of Gilead Sciences, Inc.

Commenting on Gilead Sciences acquisition of Forty Seven, Mark McCamish – President and CEO of Forty Seven, said: “This is an exciting day for patients who may one day benefit from future anti-CD47 therapies and other immuno-oncology treatments based on our research and an exciting time for Forty Seven as this allows us to achieve our vision of helping patients defeat their cancer.

“We are pleased to join Gilead and believe that by combining our scientific expertise with Gilead’s strength in developing treatments that modify the immune system, we will be able to more rapidly advance our therapies.”

Apart from magrolimab, Forty Seven is engaged in advancing a couple of investigational compounds – FSI-174 and FSI-189 into clinical testing.

FSI-174, which is an anti-cKIT antibody, is being developed in combination with magrolimab as an all-antibody conditioning regimen, aimed at addressing the limitations that the current stem cell transplantation conditioning regimens have.

On the other hand, FSI-189 is an anti-SIRPα antibody, which is being developed for the treatment of cancer, and also for certain non-oncology settings such as transplantation conditioning, and others.

Daniel O’Day – Chairman and CEO of Gilead Sciences, commenting on Gilead Sciences acquisition of Forty Seven, said: “Magrolimab complements our existing work in hematology, adding a non-cell therapy program that complements Kite’s pipeline of cell therapies for hematological cancers.

“With a profile that lends itself to combination therapies, magrolimab could potentially have transformative benefits for a range of tumor types. We are looking forward to working with the highly experienced team at Forty Seven to help patients with some of the most challenging forms of cancer.”

Completion of Gilead Sciences acquisition of Forty Seven, which is subject to receipt of regulatory approvals and meeting of other customary closing conditions, is likely to occur during Q2 2020.

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