Gilead nabs Calistoga with $600M buyout deal

Calistoga Pharmaceuticals CEO Carol Gallagher (photo) has been a passionate advocate for the company's mid-stage, delta-specific PI3K cancer program. And today Gallagher proved just how persuasive she can be. Gilead Sciences announced this morning that it will pay $375 million in cash plus up to $225 million more in milestones to acquire the biotech.

Calistoga raised $100 million over four years to pursue development of its lead therapy, CAL-101, along with other programs for rheumatoid arthritis and asthma. The biotech, a 2009 Fierce 15 company, has won kudos for its approach to throttling cancer cell growth. Calistoga is focused on a niche of the hot PI3 kinase inhibitor space: delta isoform-selective PI3 inhibitors.

"We are very encouraged by emerging clinical data for CAL-101, and this compound could represent an advance for the treatment of certain hematological cancers," said Norbert Bischofberger, Gilead's EVP and chief scientific officer. "Building on the recent acquisitions of CGI Pharmaceuticals and Arresto Biosciences, this acquisition serves to further broaden Gilead's pipeline and expertise in the areas of oncology and inflammation. We look forward to working with the team from Calistoga as we move these programs forward."

"Our team at Calistoga Pharmaceuticals was the first to demonstrate the clinical benefit of targeting the delta isoform of PI3K as a novel treatment approach for patients with CLL and iNHL," said Gallagher. "We are pleased to join Gilead as they share our vision that more targeted therapies have the potential to improve the lives of patients with cancer and inflammatory diseases."

- see the Gilead release