Gilead to acquire stake in cancer immunotherapy company Pionyr Immunotherapeutics

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Gilead Sciences has agreed to acquire a stake of 49.9% in California-based cancer immunotherapy company Pionyr Immunotherapeutics, for $275 million.

The pharma major has also secured an exclusive option to acquire the remaining stake in Pionyr Immunotherapeutics.

As per the agreement, shareholders of the cancer immunotherapy company could be paid an additional $1.47 billion in option exercise fees and future milestone payments.

Gilead Sciences said that Pionyr Immunotherapeutics’ Myeloid Tuning therapies can potentially treat patients who are presently not benefiting from checkpoint inhibitor therapies. The latter’s PY314 and PY159 have shown preclinical efficacy, which indicate potential in solid tumors in combination with established anti-PD(L)-1 agents, said Gilead Sciences.

The cancer immunotherapy company is looking to submit investigational new drug (IND) applications to the US Food and Drug Administration for PY314 and also PY159 in Q3 2020.

Gilead Sciences to acquire 49.9% stake in Pionyr Immunotherapeutics

Gilead Sciences to acquire 49.9% stake in Pionyr Immunotherapeutics. Image courtesy of Pionyr Immunotherapeutics.

Daniel O’Day – Chairman and CEO of Gilead Sciences said: “Pionyr is pursuing promising, novel biology in the field of immuno-oncology.

“The agreement represents important progress as we continue to build out Gilead’s presence in immuno-oncology with innovative and complementary approaches. We look forward to seeing the programs advance with the goal of developing new therapies that will improve the treatment of cancer.”

Gilead Sciences can exercise its exclusive option after completion of the phase 1b studies for PY314 and PY159, or at an earlier time, it wants to, for a $315 million option exercise fee along with up to $1.15 billion worth potential future milestone payments. Apart from that, Gilead Sciences will offer additional funding to Pionyr Immunotherapeutics for the PY314 and PY159 clinical programs, and also ongoing research and development programs.

Steven P. James – President and CEO of Pionyr Immunotherapeutics said: “This agreement underscores the value of our myeloid tuning platform and the potential of our pipeline of antibody therapeutics designed to turbocharge the immune system within the tumor microenvironment.

“PY314 and PY159 are first-in-class antibodies designed to remove or reprogram, respectively, the immune suppressive cells in the tumor microenvironment and thereby enhance anti-tumor immunity. We are grateful that Gilead has acknowledged the promise of this transformational approach to potentially benefit patients across a range of solid tumors.”

The deal is subject to the meeting of customary closing conditions and is likely to close shortly.

BofA Securities has been the financial advisor to Gilead Sciences, while Centerview Partners has been the financial advisor to Pionyr Immunotherapeutics.

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