Gilead will pay up to $100M to gain Yale's help in discovering cancer drugs

In a fresh sign of just how hot academic discovery deals have become, Gilead has inked a discovery deal with Yale Medical School, offering $40 million upfront and up to $100 million over 10 years in exchange for some fresh insights on the genetic basis and molecular mechanisms of cancer. A joint committee is being formed to steer the research work, which will match scientists from both groups as they hunt down new insights that can inspire better cancer drugs.

"Following Gilead's recent acquisitions of cancer development programs, this partnership serves to strengthen our discovery capabilities in the area of oncology," said Norbert Bischofberger, Ph.D., Gilead's CSO. "Based on the strong track-record of the Yale cancer research team, I am confident this collaboration will lead to important advances in the understanding of the genetic basis of cancer as we collectively seek to develop novel targeted therapies for patients in areas of unmet medical need."

"When we find cancer targets that are new, we will work with Gilead on designing drugs, which they can then test in the clinic," said Joseph Schlessinger, Ph.D., chair of Yale's Department of Pharmacology and director of the Cancer Biology Institute at West Campus. "This is a tremendous opportunity for Yale and Gilead."

As pharma and biotech companies alike reach outside their R&D silos for some help on the drug discovery side, institutions like Yale are becoming key players in the deal-making game. Sanofi has been one of the most aggressive, signing on with Harvard and Columbia, and just days ago Germany's Evotec announced its pact with Harvard and HHMI investigators.

- see the Gilead release