FOSTER CITY, Calif.—Gilead Sciences Inc. exercised its option to purchase privately-held Corus Pharma for $365 million. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter, subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, and is expected to be dilutive to Gilead's 2006 and 2007 earnings.
The process began in earnest in April 2006, when Gilead invested $25 million in Corus, becoming the second largest shareholder in the company and gaining an exclusive option to purchase the remaining shares of the company. On July 19, Gilead notified Corus of its intention to exercise its option to acquire the company.
Corus' lead product candidate, aztreonam lysine for inhalation, is an inhaled antibiotic with activity against Gram-negative bacteria including Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which can cause lung infections in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). Phase III studies to evaluate the product as a potential treatment for CF-related pulmonary infections are currently enrolling. In addition to aztreonam lysine, Corus is exploring an inhalation formulation of two antibiotics for the potential treatment of respiratory infections. This program is currently in preclinical development. The company is also exploring treatments for other respiratory diseases such as chronic cough and asthma.
"Cystic fibrosis represents an important area of unmet medical need and the early exercise of this option underscores the potential therapeutic advancement we believe aztreonam lysine represents for patients," says Dr. John F. Milligan, executive VP and CFO for Gilead Sciences. "We intend to retain Corus' Seattle-based operations, and we look forward to welcoming the Corus employees to Gilead and to working together to advance the development of aztreonam lysine."