Novartis hands off 3 preclinical programs to the antiviral R&D masters at Gilead
Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day’s new task hunting up a CSO for the company isn’t stopping the industry’s dominant antiviral player from doing pipeline deals.
The big biotech today snapped up 3 preclinical antiviral programs from pharma giant Novartis, with drugs promising to treat human rhinovirus, influenza and herpes viruses. We don’t know what the upfront is, but the back end has $291 million in milestones baked in.
John McHutchison, the soon-to-depart CSO, did the honors on the statement, saying Gilead is eager to apply its expertise in these fields after establishing a tradition in R&D that covers HIV, hep C and more.
The antiviral business has created the financial foundation the entire company rests on at Gilead. But its success with hepatitis C was both boon and bane. The boon came in a tidal wave of cash, the bane followed as the market in hep C quickly shriveled.
New CEO O’Day has been laying a new foundation for the future, resting on a record $5 billion cash deal to ally itself with Galapagos. But clearly, Gilead continues to see a big future for itself in antivirals.