Gilead Sciences acquires Kite Pharma for $11.9-bn in cash

Gilead Sciences, the leading drug maker for HIV and hepatitis C yesterday acquired cancer-immunotherapy firm Kite Pharma for $11.9 billion in cash, a 29 per cent premium.

The company's shares traded only over 1 per cent yesterday, but according to a survey by Mizuho Securities yesterday of 112 investors, 59 per cent thought Gilead overpaid, www.businessinsider.in reported, while only 40 per cent said they liked the deal.

Gilead's decision followed extensive due diligence that Kite's personalised cancer treatment – a therapy called CAR-T harnesses the body's immune system to attack cancer cells, would not only gain approval from the Food and Drug Administration, but become transformative, according to some people.

"Gilead is a very patient, diligent party when it comes to looking at strategic transactions," aperson familiar with the matter told Business Insider. "The primary thing was just the clinical data and the success that Kite has had developing the program."

"There just aren't a lot of assets out there like Kite that have the kind of data they've been able to deliver," they continued.

According to Kite's data released in February, out of 101 patients, 36 per cent had a complete response to the treatment after six months.

According to experts, Gilead has forged the big, transformational buy-out deal that the industry has been waiting for.

They point out that the acquisition will instantly make Gilead a leader in adoptive cell therapy.

''The acquisition of Kite establishes Gilead as a leader in cellular therapy and provides a foundation from which to drive continued innovation for people with advanced cancers,'' said John Milligan, Gilead's president and CEO, endpts.com reported.

''The field of cell therapy has advanced very quickly, to the point where the science and technology have opened a clear path toward a potential cure for patients.''