Gilead still hasn't made up its mind about Arcus' drugs, but there's a top exec at the biotech it definitely wants
Gilead made clear it’s in for the long I/O game when it outlined a $2 billion deal with Arcus — including $375 million paid upfront — that would span a full decade. One year in, it’s tapping a trusty steward to manage that alliance.
Bill Grossman, Arcus’ CMO of two years, will be taking up a new role as Gilead’s SVP of oncology clinical research. There, he is tasked with overseeing the clinical-stage oncology portfolio — including the four Arcus programs for which Gilead has claimed opt-in rights.
Flipping his position to the opposite side of the table, he will serve as the point of contact for Kartik Krishnan, his former deputy, who will now lead clinical development at Arcus.
The company noted Grossman began consulting for Gilead last December.
Among the candidates Gilead has called dibs on, a small molecule targeting CD73 and an anti-TIGIT antibody (dubbed AB680 and domvanalimab, respectively) have garnered the most attention. AB680 was applauded for exceeding expectations in an early trial for pancreatic cancer, and more recently Arcus put out a cryptic update saying domvanalimab showed “encouraging clinical activity.”
TIGIT, in particular, is at the center of a high-stakes race with Roche, Merck and other drugmakers searching for the next big immune checkpoint target.
That’s on top of zimberelimab, the Phase III PD-1 drug that has already settled into Gilead’s late-stage non-cell therapy oncology pipeline just next to the CD47 blocker magrolimab (via Forty Seven) and TROP2 antibody-drug conjugate Trodelvy (courtesy Immunomedics).
Other early-stage assets run the gamut from anti-SIRP-α and anti-c-KIT to an Flt3R agonist and oral PD-L1 small molecule inhibitor.
Terry Rosen recruited Grossman from Bellicum in 2019, back when Arcus was on the cusp of several Phase I readouts. Given his background of running cancer trials at Genentech and AbbVie, Grossman was credited for executing “extraordinarily well” on Arcus’ strategy of developing drugs against promising targets in combination as well as building a “world-class” team.
Krishnan joined that same year, and began assuming more responsibilities over the past few months as Grossman started to double as a Gilead consultant.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that AB680 is a small molecule, not an antibody.