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Gilead completes £11.9 billion Kite Pharma acquisition

Published on 05/10/17 at 09:43am

Gilead has announced that it has completed its acquisition of Kite Pharma after the deal was announced on 28 August this year. Gilead now owns Kite Pharma via a transaction by its wholly-owned subsidiary Dodgers Merger Sub, valuing the company at $180 per share, or $11.9 billion.

As part of the deal, Gilead will benefit from the rights to axicabtagene ciloluecel, Kite’s chimeric antigen receptor T Cell (CAR T) therapy which is currently under review in the US and Europe for the treatment of blood cancer. Gilead plans to immediately increase production of the complex drug, pushing manufacturing capability to reach an “industrial scale” to challenge Novartis’s own CAR T therapy Kymriah. It is estimated that Kite’s offering in the space could generate sales of $7.9 billion, compared to Kymriah’s projected $4.7 billion, despite a trial death associated with the former which occurred in May.  

Another consequence of the transaction is that Kite’s senior executives are set to rake in hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses. As a result of share ownership and ‘golden parachute’ payments, CEO Arie Belldegrun is due to receive $694 million, while Chief Operating Officer Cynthia Buttita receives $160 million and R&D Chief David Chang gets $98 million.

“We are excited to welcome more than 700 talented Kite employees to the Gilead organisation,” said Dr John F Milligan, Gilead’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Throughout our respective histories, each company has demonstrated a deep commitment to advancing life-saving therapies for people who need them. I look forward to all that we will accomplish together, as a combined organisation.”

Matt Fellows

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