Gilead stuffs another NASH drug discovery program into a growing portfolio

When Daniel O’Day shows up for work as the new CEO of Gilead $GILD later this year, he’ll inherit a bustling R&D operation centered on its experimental drugs for NASH. 

Daniel O’Day

Their late-stage reveal on selonsertib — along with a similar unveiling from Intercept — is one of the most anticipated events of the year. And Gilead has two other mid-stage drugs in the pipeline to help build what it hopes will be an industry-leading cocktail for NASH, much like they did for HIV and hepatitis C. Those 3 clinical drugs make up half of the 6 drugs Gilead lists in its pipeline for liver diseases, including hepatitis B.

On Sunday, the eve of the JP Morgan confab, Gilead added a new discovery program in NASH-related fibrosis with South Korea’s Yuhan Corporation — which handles commercialization work on Gilead’s drugs in the Asian country. 

There aren’t a lot of details in the statement about what they’ll be going after, other than 2 unspecified targets, but Gilead seeded the deal with a $15 million upfront and a mother lode of milestones that tot up to $770 million.

This deal follows closely on a new alliance Gilead struck with Scholar Rock that came with $105 million in quick cash in exchange for 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.

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