Gilead dangles $105M in quick cash to sign Scholar Rock to a discovery deal for its growing NASH pipeline
At last count Gilead $GILD had 3 clinical stage programs for NASH in the pipeline, topped by their Phase III work on selonsertib.
But that’s not enough.
Today the big biotech — which is getting a brain transplant in the executive suite as Roche’s Daniel O’Day heads for the helm — added a discovery program with Scholar Rock $SRRK on a slate of TGFβ inhibitors for fibrotic diseases, beefing up a portfolio of drugs that encompass NASH and diabetic kidney disease.
Gilead is paying $50 million in upfront cash to get the deal started, along with another $30 million bounty for equity plus $25 million for a near-term preclinical goal and $1.4 billion in milestones.
Gilead gets a shot at 3 programs: Inhibitors targeting activation of latent TGFβ1, inhibitors targeting activation of latent TGFβ1 localized to the extracellular matrix, and a third TGFβ program.
Gilead will be putting up Phase III data for selonsertib in the first half of next year in one of the most eagerly anticipated readouts for 2019. But ultimately the blockbuster indication is expected to need combo therapies to do the work needed, a field in which Gilead has demonstrated great expertise. Scholar Rock now gets to play a part in that drama as Intercept and others look to advance rival therapies.
Scholar Rock, meanwhile, gets to build its own portfolio of TGFβ1 drugs for oncology.