Gilead Sciences to acquire Arresto BioSciences for $225 million

Gilead anticipates closing the deal in the first quarter of 2011 and plans to finance the acquisition through available cash on hand

Jeffrey Bouley
FOSTER CITY, Calif. & PALO ALTO, Calif.—Gilead Sciences Inc. and Arresto Biosciences Inc., a privately-held, development-stage biotechnology company focused on medicines to treat fibrotic diseases and cancer, have announced the signing of a definitive agreement under which Gilead will acquire Arresto.

Pursuant to the terms of the agreement, Gilead will acquire Arresto for $225 million and potential future payments based on achievement of certain sales levels. Gilead anticipates that the deal would close in the first quarter of 2011, subject to satisfaction of certain closing conditions, and plans to finance the acquisition through available cash on hand.

Arresto develops medicines that target enzymes involved in the synthesis of the extracellular matrix, which appear to play a role in the etiology of a variety of fibrotic diseases and cancer. The company's lead product is AB0024, a humanized monoclonal antibody (mAb) targeting the human lysyl oxidase-like-2 (LOXL2) protein. The company recently initiated a Phase I study evaluating AB0024 in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). A Phase I study of AB0024 in patients with advanced solid tumors is also ongoing.

Part of what makes this deal interesting is that Gilead is known as a major player in the market for AIDS/HIV-related medications. As Jason Kantor, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets in San Francisco notes, "The deal is unusual, because it is the first antibody for Gilead."

"Arresto's research and development expertise is well aligned with Gilead's areas of focus, including our ongoing clinical program for ambrisentan in IPF," says Dr. Norbert W. Bischofberger, Gilead's executive vice president of research and development and chief scientific officer. "We look forward to working with the team from Arresto to advance the development of novel therapies for serious fibrotic diseases and explore their potential for the treatment of tumors."

"Gilead shares Arresto's vision of bringing innovative new therapeutic options to patients with unmet medical needs," says Dr. Peter Van Vlasselaer, Arresto's president and CEO. "Arresto was founded based on the promise of selective antibody therapies and I am confident the combined resources of our companies best position us to build upon our early scientific results."
 

Jeffrey Bouley

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