A Little Help, Please

Gilead Sciences (Nasdaq: GILD  ) got Complera approved by the Food and Drug Administration recently and will be submitting its Quad pill to the FDA shortly, but the company doesn't seem content to rest on its HIV-drug laurels.

On Wednesday, Gilead announced that it was licensing an HIV development program drug from Boehringer Ingelheim. The deal includes BI 224436, which has been tested in a phase 1 trial already and follow-on compounds in the same class.

The drugs target the same protein as Merck's (NYSE: MRK  ) Isentress and Gilead's elvitegravir, called integrase, that is required by the virus to make more of itself. BI 224436 is different from Isentress and elvitegravir because it binds to integrase in a different location, which may change the drug's resistance profile.

Boehringer Ingelheim has been striking deals with American drugmakers recently. Earlier this year, the company paired up with Eli Lilly (NYSE: LLY  ) to develop and market diabetes drugs. It seems the German drugmaker will have a less active role in this deal, with Gilead taking on full responsibility for developing and marketing the drugs.

The partnership comes with standard upfront, milestone, and royalty payments, but the details weren't disclosed. The company got a better deal with Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ  ) for its component of Complera than it did for Atripla, which it shares with Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY  ) . Since Gilead will be doing all the heavy lifting, one can presume the economics will work out even better than for Complera, which J&J pushed most of the way through the clinic before striking a deal.

Of course, nothing will beat the quad, which Gilead owns in its entirety. Gilead may not be resting on its laurels, but the approval and sales of the Quad are still the most important near-term issues for Gilead.

Fool contributor Brian Orelli holds no position in any company mentioned. Check out his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Johnson & Johnson. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Johnson & Johnson and Gilead Sciences and creating a diagonal call position in Johnson & Johnson. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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