Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) and Nimbus Therapeutics, LLC announced that the companies have signed a definitive agreement under which Gilead will acquire Nimbus Apollo, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nimbus Therapeutics, and its Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase (ACC) inhibitor program. Nimbus Therapeutics will receive an upfront payment of $400 million, with the potential to receive an additional $800 million in development-related milestones over time.
The Nimbus Apollo program includes the lead candidate NDI-010976, an ACC inhibitor, and other preclinical ACC inhibitors for the treatment of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), and for the potential treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and other diseases. NDI-010976 was granted Fast Track designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in February 2016 and Phase 1 data for the compound will be presented next month during an oral session at The International Liver Congress 2016, the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL).
NASH is a serious liver disease resulting from metabolic dysfunction associated with steatosis (fat within the liver) that can lead to inflammation, hepatocellular injury, progressive fibrosis and cirrhosis. Affecting up to 15 million people in the United States, NASH is expected to become the leading indication for liver transplantation by 2020. ACC inhibitors target a central cause of the disease – reducing aberrant lipid-derived signaling that can result in steatosis, inflammation and fibrosis.
“The acquisition of Nimbus’ ACC-inhibitor program represents a timely and important opportunity to accelerate Gilead’s ongoing efforts to address unmet needs in NASH,” said Norbert Bischofberger, PhD, Executive Vice President, Research and Development and Chief Scientific Officer, Gilead Sciences. “These molecules will complement and further strengthen Gilead’s pipeline and capabilities to advance a broad clinical program in NASH that includes compounds targeting multiple key pathways involved in the pathogenesis of the disease.”
“Given the company’s long-standing commitment to and expertise in liver disease, we are confident that Gilead is the ideal partner to accelerate and maximize the potential of the ACC inhibitor program,” said Don Nicholson, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of Nimbus Therapeutics. “This agreement underscores Nimbus’ ability to rapidly discover, design and optimize promising therapeutics in areas of unmet need, an approach we will continue to apply against other medically important targets.”
Upon completion of the acquisition, Nimbus Apollo will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Gilead. Nimbus Therapeutics will retain ownership of its other research and development subsidiaries. Gilead will be solely responsible for future development and commercialization of NDI-010976 and other ACC inhibitors. (Original Source)
Shares of Gilead Sciences closed last Friday at $94.12, up $2.26 or 2.46%. GILD has a 1-year high of $123.37 and a 1-year low of $81.89. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $89.68 and its 200-day moving average is $97.05.
On the ratings front, Gilead has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on March 31, Leerink Swann analyst Geoff Porges maintained a Buy rating on GILD, with a price target of $127, which implies an upside of 34.9% from current levels. Separately, on the same day, Morgan Stanley’s Matthew Harrison reiterated a Hold rating on the stock and has a price target of $111.
According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Geoff Porges and Matthew Harrison have a total average return of 2.8% and 0.9% respectively. Porges has a success rate of 65.2% and is ranked #1449 out of 3775 analysts, while Harrison has a success rate of 42.9% and is ranked #1900.
Overall, 4 research analysts have assigned a Hold rating and 14 research analysts have given a Buy rating to the stock. When considering if perhaps the stock is under or overvalued, the average price target is $111.43 which is 18.4% above where the stock closed last Friday.