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2022-08-05| M&A

Gilead Spends $405 Million In Cash to Acquire MiroBio

by Reed Slater
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In its biggest deal this year, Gilead Sciences is set to acquire Oxford University spinout, MiroBio, a company dedicated to developing agonists targeting immune inhibitory receptors. The exchange will net Gilead MiroBio’s proprietary drug discovery platform and entire portfolio, including a promising lead investigational antibody. 

MiroBio’s Quick Rise to Exit

Just three years after launching, MiroBio is getting picked up by one of the biotech industry’s leaders. The Oxford-based startup launched in 2019 with $34 million from Series A financing. This June, the company announced a Series B wrap-up that brought $97 million to the table. 

In its short lifespan, MiroBio developed a proprietary discovery platform called I-ReSToRE, which elegantly stands for REceptor Selection and Targeting to Reinstate immune Equilibrium. MiroBio used the platform to source at least four treatment candidates it is developing. Two are undisclosed candidates in preclinical phases, one is in the investigational new drug-enabled phase, and the one of most interest to Gilead is in Phase 1. 

MB272, the candidate in Phase 1 trials, is a selective agonist of immune inhibitory receptor B- and T-Lymphocyte Attenuator (BTLA). BTLA-targeting therapeutics are a topic rising in popularity, with several companies jumping at development opportunities in the space. Eli Lilly has a BTLA-targeting candidate in Phase 2 trials treating systemic lupus erythematosus. 

MiroBio’s other candidate, MB151, is a PD-1 agonist that Gilead said it intends to advance along with the other undisclosed candidates in MiroBio’s pipeline. 

“The team at MiroBio has spearheaded foundational research for agonist antibodies following a rigorous scientific approach,” said Flavius Martin, Executive Vice President, Research, Gilead Sciences. “We believe that MiroBio’s unique platform technology has the potential to produce best-in-class agonist antibodies targeting immune inhibitory receptors.”

Related Article: Merck Reportedly Interested in Potential $40 Billion SeaGen Buyout

Gilead’s 2022, Trying to Keep Up with Past Performance

While Gilead’s acquisition of MiroBio is its biggest this year, the purchase hardly scratches the surface of past dealings. 2020 was a huge year in acquisitions for the company when it spent more than $26 billion acquiring a range of smaller biotech companies. 

This year has been a bit quieter in external dealings for Gilead. In May, the California-based company struck a collaboration with Dragonfly Therapeutics. Gilead put up $300 million for the exclusive global rights for a few of Dragonfly’s immunotherapy candidates. 

Though partnerships and acquisitions have been a bit more mellow this year, Gilead is still boasting impressive revenues through its broad range of products. In its Q2 financial statement, Gilead reported $6.3 billion in revenue in the second quarter, a 1% increase over the same period in 2021. Gilead’s HIV/AIDS treatment, Biktarvey, demonstrated a 28% year-over-year increase, making it one of the company’s best sellers.

Gilead is keeping the ball rolling going into the third quarter of 2022 after acquiring the young MiroBio. The Oxford-founded startup skyrocketed into success with some interesting and valuable technology, which will have a new home to thrive in after the $405 million acquisition.  

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