Gilead to acquire immuno-oncology company Forty Seven for $4.9 Billion

Gilead to acquire clinical-stage immuno-oncology company Forty Seven for $4.9 Billion

Gilead Sciences, Inc. and Forty Seven, Inc. announced that they have reached a formal agreement under which Gilead will buy Forty Seven for $95.50 per share in cash.

Through the deal, announced on the 2nd March, Gilead will gain Forty Seven’s investigational immuno-oncology treatment in multiple clinical studies for diseases including Myelodysplastic Syndrome, Acute Myeloid Leukemia and Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma. The acquisition is in line with Gilead’s strategic focus in oncology and provides access to a potential new first-in-class program and innovative pipeline.

The deal, which estimates Forty Seven to be worth around $4.9 billion, was approved unanimously by both the Gilead and Forty Seven Boards of Directors and, subject to regulatory approvals, is expected to close in Q2 of 2020.

Investigational Immuno-oncology candidate magrolimab

The purchase would boost Gilead’s portfolio of immuno-oncology research and development by adding Forty Seven’s investigational lead drug candidate magrolimab. Magrolimab is a monoclonal antibody in clinical development for the treatment of several types of cancers including myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). The investigative treatment addresses CD47, a “do not eat me” signal that enables cancer cells to escape destruction allowing the patient’s own innate immune system to engulf and eliminate those cancer cells. Magrolimab has the potential to be a first-in-class therapy. At the American Society of Hematology conference in December 2019, Forty Seven reported encouraging results of a Phase 1b trial of magrolimab in patients with MDS and AML.

Daniel O’Day, Chairman and CEO of Gilead Sciences stated:

“This agreement builds on Gilead’s presence in immuno-oncology and adds significant potential to our clinical pipeline.” “Magrolimab complements our existing work in hematology, adding a non-cell therapy program that complements Kite’s pipeline of cell therapies for hematological cancers. With a profile that lends itself to combination therapies, magrolimab could potentially have transformative benefits for a range of tumor types. We are looking forward to working with the highly experienced team at Forty Seven to help patients with some of the most challenging forms of cancer.”

The President and CEO of Fort Seven, Mark McCamish, MD, PhD, commented:

“This is an exciting day for patients who may one day benefit from future anti-CD47 therapies and other immuno-oncology treatments based on our research and an exciting time for Forty Seven as this allows us to achieve our vision of helping patients defeat their cancer. We are pleased to join Gilead and believe that by combining our scientific expertise with Gilead’s strength in developing treatments that modify the immune system, we will be able to more rapidly advance our therapies.”

Magrolimab clinical trials

To date, more than 400 patients have received the magrolimab compound through clinical trials. Forty Seven is studying magrolimab in patients with MDS and AML with additional ongoing studies in non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and solid tumors. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted magrolimab fast track designation for the treatment of MDS and AML, and for the treatment of relapsed or refractory DLBCL and follicular lymphoma, two forms of B-cell NHL. The investigational medicine has also been granted Orphan Drug designation by the FDA for the treatment of MDS and AML and by the European Medicines Agency for the treatment of AML.