News briefing: Gilead completes $21B buyout of Immunomedics; Innate receives $50M milestone payment from AstraZeneca
Gilead’s $21 billion mega-acquisition of Immunomedics is now officially complete, the companies announced Friday morning.
The full merger process took a little over a month, with Gilead and Immunomedics signing an agreement on Sept. 13. Gilead acquired all outstanding stock of Immunomedics for $88 per share, a 108% premium on the previous day’s closing price.
Gilead’s big prize was Trodelvy, approved in July for the treatment of metastatic triple-negative breast cancer. The drug also impressed at last month’s ESMO conference, reducing the risk of death by 52% in a Phase III study.
“Together we will bring Trodelvy to many more patients around the world with triple-negative breast cancer and continue to explore its potential in many other types of cancer, both as a monotherapy and in combination with other treatments,” Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day said in a statement.
The buyout talks themselves took place over a frantic ten days, in which Immunomedics executive chairman Behzad Aghazadeh weighed Gilead’s offer with that from another company. Gilead proved much more excited about the acquisition, however, and ultimately Aghazadeh walked away from the deal more than $2 billion richer thanks to his personal Immunomedics stock.
Phase III start triggers $50 million payment for Innate Pharma
Innate Pharma’s collaboration with AstraZeneca for its NKG2A checkpoint inhibitor has proved fruitful over the last five and a half years. And on Friday, it continued to pull in cash.
The companies announced that the first patient has been dosed in a Phase III trial for Innate’s monalizumab in combination with cetuximab, looking at efficacy in patients with recurrent or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. That milestone, achieved Friday, has resulted in a $50 million payment to Innate.
Thus far, the deal between the companies has resulted in a $400 million total windfall for Innate since the agreement was signed in April 2015. Should Innate meet all its milestones, the biotech is in line to receive up to $1.275 billion.
Innate also has low double-digit to mid-teen percentage royalties everywhere except Europe, where it will share profits and losses with AstraZeneca 50-50.
The new Phase III study will be randomized and double-blinded, measuring the monalizumab-cetuximab combo against cetuximab and placebo. It’s expected to enroll 600 patients and the primary endpoint is overall survival. Secondary endpoints include progression-free survival, ORR, duration of response, safety and quality of life.