The HIV specialist bought CV Therapeutics for instant diversification with its heart drug, Ranexa. It took a medium-term view acquiring Myogen, getting Letairis, which was approved eventually, and darusentan, which flopped in phase 3 trials.
Now Gilead is taking an even earlier view to boosting its pipeline, picking up privately held CGI Pharmaceuticals, which doesn't seem to have any drugs in the clinic yet. Gilead is paying up to $120 million for CGI, which is broken up into some undisclosed combination of a large up-front payment and milestone payments based on its progress in clinical development.
CGI's biggest asset is its library of more than 50,000 kinase inhibitors, at least one of which is ready to move into the clinic, according to its website.
In its announcement, Gilead highlighted CGI's spleen tyrosine kinase (Syk) inhibitor, which could be used for treating inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Syk is a promising target, but Gilead could be late to the party, with Rigel Pharmaceuticals
And Gilead could certainly use the help. Its HIV drugs have dominated over offerings from GlaxoSmithKline
The purchase of CGI won't pay off for many years, but I like the strategy of buying a company focused on bringing non-HIV compounds into the clinic. The purchase is relatively cheap compared with licensing late-stage compounds, and Gilead has plenty of free cash flow to support the drugs once they make it into the clinic.