Gilead's Calistoga buyout marks effort to make cancer a chronic condition

Gilead has been hugely successful developing new drug cocktails that allow patients to manage HIV over the long term. And now it's signaling with its $600 million deal to buy Calistoga Pharmaceuticals--a 2009 Fierce 15 company--that it believes the same basic approach will revolutionize the treatment of cancer in coming years.

"We think a lot about where the field is going, and like us, Gilead believes people can live with the disease without a lot of side effects," Calistoga CEO Carol Gallagher tells Xconomy's Luke Timmerman. "Patients will live longer lives, and have better quality of life. That's what Gilead has done in the HIV space. They have this shared belief with us."

The basic theory is that rapid advances in DNA sequencing will soon give physicians a direct look at an individual's cancer on the molecular level, allowing for cocktail treatments that quell the disease before it kills. And Gilead is making a significant bet with its deal for Calistoga that it can take a lead role in treating cancer and inflammatory conditions.

A number of biotechs are developing therapies targeting the PI3 kinase pathway. Calistoga's claim to fame has been a delta-specific program--CAL-101--targeting a variation that occurs in select blood cells. Carefully targeting personalized therapies should create a new generation of drugs that are more effective with fewer side effects.

- see the article from Xconomy