Foster City's Gilead Sciences announced Thursday that it plans to acquire Emeryville startup Cell Design Labs for up to $587 million.
The deal strengthens Gilead's focus on CAR-T drugs, a new class of cancer therapies that involve genetically modifying a patient's own immune cells to better recognize and attack cancer.
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Gilead will acquire all outstanding Cell Design Labs shares, including the 12.2% that are now held by Kite. Cell Design Labs is developing therapies for prostate cancer and multiple myeloma, a cancer of the blood plasma cells.
The agreement includes an initial upfront payment of approximately $175 million, subject to certain adjustments, and additional payments of up to $322 million that will be paid to the shareholders of Cell Design Labs other than Kite upon the occurrence of certain events, including the achievement of development and approval milestones.
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In August, Novartis AG's Kymriah became the first CAR-T cell therapy to get USA approval, signaling a new era in the treatment of cancer.
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