Gilead Sciences to buy YM Biosciences in US$510m deal

Expanding its growing oncology portfolio

Gilead Sciences, a US developer of drugs for HIV/AIDS, respiratory and metabolic conditions and cancer, is to buy YM BioSciences for US$510m.

YM’s leading drug candidate, CYT387, combats myeloproliferative diseases. The drug is a so-called JAK inhibitor, a class of medicines being tested by pharmaceutical companies for new treatments against cancer and autoimmune diseases. The Canadian company has reported positive results from a Phase I/II clinical trial of CYT387. Pending completion of the deal, which is expected in the first quarter of 2013, Gilead will initiate a Phase III clinical trial in myelofibrosis in the second half of the year.

This acquisition represents an opportunity to add a complementary clinical programme in the area of haematologic cancers

‘This acquisition represents an opportunity to add a complementary clinical programme in the area of haematologic cancers to our growing oncology portfolio,’ said Norbert Bischofberger, Gilead's executive vice president, Research and Development and chief scientific officer.

‘Based on promising Phase II data, we believe CYT387 could provide important clinical benefit for patients with myelofibrosis, including potential improvements with regard to anaemia and decreased dependence on blood transfusions. We look forward to advancing CYT387 into a Phase III study as quickly as possible and to exploring its potential in other myeloproliferative diseases.’

Myelofibrosis is a progressive, chronic bone marrow disease that can lead to anaemia and spleen enlargement.

‘This agreement represents a positive outcome both for myelofibrosis patients and for our shareholders. Gilead has the research and development capabilities and the resources needed to more fully realise the potential of CYT387 as a therapeutic advance for myelofibrosis patients and potentially for other indications,’ said Nick Glover, president and CEO of YM.

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