Gilead Sciences has agreed to buy drugmaker Forty Seven for $4.9 billion in cash, the companies announced Monday.
Gilead will pay $95.50 per share, which represents a premium of 64.7% to the stock’s Friday closing price of $58. Forty Seven shares were up another 1.4% Monday morning ahead of the market’s open.
The deal gives Gilead access to Forty Seven’s lead drug, magrolimab. The experimental therapy blocks a signal cancer cells use to avoid being detected by the immune system, in turn allowing a person’s own immune system to fight cancer cells. The drug has been granted fast track designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of myelodysplastic syndrome and acute myeloid leukemia.
In December, Forty Seven reported promising results of a Phase 1b trial involving patients with MDS and AML who were ineligible for induction chemotherapy. Its stock price has jumped nearly 350% in the last three months as news of Gilead’s interest spread. The stock traded below $20 for most of its time on public markets and was as low as $6 in October.
“We think magrolimab represents a likely pipeline within a product being studied in multiple indications and with promising efficacy across various cancers including MDS, AML, NHL, and solid tumors,” Jeffries analysts said in a note to clients.
The deal is expected to compliment Kite Pharma’s portfolio, which Gilead bought for $12 billion in 2017.
“This agreement builds on Gilead’s presence in immuno-oncology and adds significant potential to our clinical pipeline,” Gilead chairman and chief executive officer Daniel O’Day said in a statement. “Magrolimab complements our existing work in hematology, adding a non-cell therapy program that complements Kite’s pipeline of cell therapies for hematological cancers.”
The deal was unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both Gilead and Forty Seven. It is expected to close during the second quarter of 2020.