Gilead expands its oncology pipeline

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A $510 million dollar deal to buy YM Biosciences is expanding Gilead's pipeline to include YM's experimental drug CYT387, which may be used to treat the chronic bone marrow disorder myelofibrosis. The condition is one in which scar tissue replaces bone marrow, triggering anemia and low blood platelet counts, among other conditions. The Phase II drug inhibits JAK enzymes, which have been associated with inflammatory diseases and some cancers. Gilead announced the purchase Wednesday.

The JAK inhibitor increases Gilead's oncology/inflammation pipeline which currently includes five experimental drugs in Phase II or Phase III studies, in addition to moving YM's 4,000 novel compounds under its umbrella. CYT387 was the only drug YM had under clinical development.
ISI analyst Mark Schoenebaum wrote Wednesday that Gilead is already focused on leveraging the experimental therapy, and expects Phase III studies to begin in the second half of 2013. Schoenebaum also noted that consensus is that CYT387 could have sales of $300 million by 2020.

Gilead said in a statement it expects the deal to close during the first quarter of next year.
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