Gilead Sciences has entered a 12-year partnership with Assembly Biosciences to advance the research and development of new antiviral therapies.

The partnership will initially focus on Assembly Bio’s areas of herpesviruses, hepatitis B virus and hepatitis D virus.

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Assembly Bio will receive $100m, comprising an upfront payment of $84.8m and a $15.2m equity investment, from Gilead.

Gilead’s initial equity investment, made at a premium, represents 19.9% of Assembly Bio’s outstanding voting stock at the closing date.

Gilead will also acquire a 29.9% premium stake in Assembly Bio’s outstanding voting shares, subject to conditions.

Gilead has the option to secure exclusive rights to all of Assembly Bio’s existing and upcoming programmes, which encompass two preclinical initiatives focused on HSV and transplant-associated herpesviruses that the company is licensing to Assembly Bio.

The company can exercise this option by paying a minimum of $45m per programme once clinical proof-of-concept has been demonstrated.

Assembly Bio has the potential to earn up to $330m per programme through regulatory and commercial milestones and royalties.

It can also receive three separate payments of $75m at specified intervals throughout the collaboration period, intended to support upcoming research and development activities.

Assembly Bio will take the lead in researching and developing the collaboration programmes, including two Gilead programmes contributed before Gilead’s potential opt-in.

After Gilead’s opt-in, the company will have control over the discovery, research, development and commercialisation of the selected programmes.

Gilead can appoint two individuals to Assembly Bio’s board of directors.

Gilead Virology Research senior vice-president Tomas Cihlar stated: “We are excited to announce this partnership with Assembly Bio to synergise our efforts on advancing and accelerating the discovery and development of novel antiviral therapeutics.”

Early R&D projects coverage on Pharmaceutical Technology is supported by Mimotopes.

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This content was updated on 25 January 2024