Gilead acquires 49.9% of Pionyer Therapeutics in potential $1.5bn+ deal

pharmafile | June 24, 2020 | News story | Research and Development, Sales and Marketing Gilead, Pionyr, pharma 

Gilead has announced its intention to acquire 49.9% of shares in cancer immunotherapy specialist Pionyr Therapeutics with a payment of $275 million, as part of a deal that could be worth up to an additional $1.47 billion.

Pionyr develops its proprietary Myeloid Tuning therapies, which can potentially provide benefit to cancer patients who do not show clinical improvement with checkpoint inhibitors. This includes two candidates, known as PY314 and PY159, which have shown preclinical promise in solid tumours when combined with anti-PD(L)1 agents. Pionyr is currently planning applications to the FDA for the drugs in the third quarter of this year.

On the completion of Phase 1b studies these drugs, or sooner if it chooses, Gielad will have the right under the deal to acquire the rest of Pionyr’s shares for an option exercise license of fee of $315 million and up to $1.15 billion in potential milestone payments. This mean s Pionyr shareholders are eligible to receive a further $1.47 billion in the right circumstances.

“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 tumour microenvironment,” explained Steven P James, President and Chief Executive Officer at Pionyr. “PY314 and PY159 are first-in-class antibodies designed to remove or reprogram, respectively, the immune suppressive cells in the tumour microenvironment and thereby enhance anti-tumour immunity. We are grateful that Gilead has acknowledged the promise of this transformational approach to potentially benefit patients across a range of solid tumours.”

Gilead also has the right to nominate a single appointment to Pionyr’s Board of Directors upon close of the deal, which is expected shortly.

Matt Fellows

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