Novartis licenses out early antiviral work to Gilead

Gilead
Gilead Sciences licensed three preclinical antiviral programs from Novartis as its R&D chief is set to leave. (Gilead)

Just two days after announcing its R&D chief was stepping down, Gilead Sciences has announced it will be buying up a few of Novartis’ unwanted early-stage infection assets.

The West Coast Big Biotech, which has been shuffling its execs over the past few weeks, today licensed three preclinical antiviral programs from Novartis including investigational agents with the potential to treat human rhinovirus, influenza and herpes.

For its part, Novartis gets an undisclosed upfront payment, with biobucks worth $291 million as well as royalties on annual net sales.

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RELATED: Gilead CSO, R&D head McHutchison the latest to bid company adieu

“Today’s announcement builds on Gilead’s heritage in antiviral research and development. We look forward to applying this expertise to advance the development of potential new treatments for viruses with limited therapeutic options,” said John McHutchison, M.D., Gilead’s outgoing chief scientific officer and head of R&D.

Gilead has been pivoting toward cancer in recent years, most notably though its $12 billion buyout of Kite Pharma and its CAR-T drugs, but anti-infectives against hepatitis C and HIV remain the base of the company and seemingly still an important part of its future.

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