Gilead Sciences (GILD -1.21%), a busy company these days, might be adding another significant investment to its agenda. An article published by Bloomberg after the market closed Wednesday, citing "people familiar with the matter," asserted that the biotech giant is mulling the purchase of a stake in Arcus Biosciences (RCUS 7.53%).

The two companies have had talks on the matter, but have also discussed merely entering into some development partnerships, according to the article's sources.

Arcus is a biotech that concentrates on oncology, an area of significant interest for Gilead. It has significantly boosted its presence in the segment, most recently by striking a deal to buy immuno-oncology specialist Forty Seven for $4.9 billion.

Pills spilling out onto U.S. currency.

Image source: Getty Images.

At the moment, Google parent Alphabet has the largest stake in Arcus, with an approximate 11% holding. It first invested in the company in 2017 in an early funding round; the following year, Arcus held its initial public offering. The Bloomberg article did not mention whether Alphabet participated in the reported discussions between Gilead and Arcus. None of those companies has yet commented on the article.

Although Gilead has a particular interest in oncology, its profile has risen lately because it owns one of the drugs that has gotten considerable attention as a potential treatment for COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. The antiviral drug remdesivir, originally developed to treat Ebola, is now in clinical trials  for COVID-19, and is also being administered to some patients outside the studies under the compassionate-use protocol.

On Wednesday, shares of both Gilead and Arcus declined more sharply than the key equities indexes -- the former by 4%, and the latter by 7.2%. But by late afternoon Thursday, Arcus was trading more than 80% higher, while Gilead had gained about 2%.