Gilead ‘Very Pleased’ With Tango Collab, Boosts Cancer Targets To 15

Gilead Sciences (GILD) and Tango Therapeutics have announced an expanded collaboration focusing on targeted immune evasion therapies for cancer patients.

Under the deal, which builds on a previous 2018 agreement, Tango will use its CRISPR-enabled functional genomics target discovery platform to identify novel immune evasion targets. The number of targets covered will expand from five to 15.

Gilead will have options to worldwide rights for programs directed at these targets over the next seven years. Gilead will also have the right to pay option extension fees for Tango to lead activities through early clinical development, to which Gilead will retain its option rights. Tango will have the option to co-develop and co-promote the lead products for up to five programs in the US.

“Since we signed the original agreement two years ago, we have been very pleased with the productivity of the collaboration and with the quality of scientific discovery that has come from this partnership,” said Gilead’s William A. Lee.

“We are looking forward to working with Tango to run additional cancer context dependent screens to identify a broader set of targets based on our immuno-oncology strategy.”

The collaboration excludes Tango’s lead programs, and Tango retains the rights to identify targets outside the immune evasion space.

In respect of the deal, Gilead will make a $125 million upfront payment to Tango and a $20 million equity investment. It will also have the right to option up to 15 programs over the seven-years for up to $410 million per program in opt-in, extension and milestone payments. Tango will also be eligible to receive up to low double-digit tiered royalties on net sales.

For the products that Tango opts to co-develop and co-promote, the parties will equally split profits and losses, as well as development costs in the US, and Tango will be eligible to receive milestone payments and royalties on ex-US sales.

Shares in Gilead are up 6% year-to-date and analysts have a cautiously optimistic Moderate Buy consensus on the stock’s outlook. That’s with ratings evenly split between hold and buy, and an average analyst price target of $83 (20% upside potential).

Maxim’s Jason McCarthy reiterated his hold rating on the stock after the company reported disappointing 2Q earnings with product sales of $5.1B, down (10%) y/y and (7%) sequentially, missing consensus of $5.2B.

Though the quarter was disappointing financially, McCarthy believes sales of GILD’s Covid-19 treatment remdesivir should help partially offset revenue decline stemming from COVID this year.

“However, what happens with remdesivir sales following the pandemic is unclear. It will be interesting to see if Gilead takes remdesivir to an inhaled formulation, which would change the equation; earlier COVID disease, more patients, take home therapy, etc” the analyst commented. (See Gilead stock analysis on TipRanks).

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