Gilead Sciences: Sluggish After Healthcare Reform Debate

Gilead Sciences: Sluggish After Healthcare Reform Debate

Gilead Sciences is an American biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and commercially sells a range of therapeutics including antiviral drugs for the treatment of Hepatitis, HIV, and influenza.

The company was founded in 1987 by Michael Riordan, a medical doctor. He served as CEO till 1996. A venture capital firm Menlo Ventures made the first investment of $2 million dollars in Gilead. In 1996, it entered a collaborative research agreement with Glaxo for the development of genetic code blockers or antisense. This was terminated in 1998 and its antisense intellectual property portfolio was sold to Isis Pharmaceuticals.

Gilead IPO

Its Initial Public Offering raised $86.25 million. It launched Vistide for the treatment of CMV in patients with AIDS. It collaborated with Pharmacia & Upjohn to reach more markets outside the United States. In 2010, it acquired CGI Pharmaceuticals for $120 million which expanded its research into kinase biology and chemistry. It also acquired Arresto Biosciences for $225 million and their research for treating fibrotic diseases and cancer. It acquired Pharmasset Inc. for $10.4 billion dollars.

Drug Pipelines

This gave it control over the HCV treatment market by holding Sofosbuvir (medicine for Hepatitis C). It was the first firm to manufacture a pill which is known to reduce the risk of HIV infection. It had a market capitalization of US $113 billion and its stock doubled its value after the acquisition. It was ranked the 4th best drug company by Forbes. It attributed its success to FDA approval and potentially revolutionary drug Sovaldi.

The drug has faced its fair share of criticism for its high price. The committee of finance of the United States Senate investigated wherein it sent letters to the CEO of the company as to how it derived its price. It has recently also acquired Phenex Pharmaceuticals, EpiTherapeutics and Nimbus Apollo. This has given access to treat liver diseases such as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, inhibitors of histone demethylases which regulates gene transcription in cancer and potentially treating hepatocellular carcinoma and an anti-inflammatory drug filgotinib which may be used to treat arthritis and Crohn’s disease. It’s current president and chief executive officer is John F. Milligan.

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