Gilead Sciences To Buy HIV/AIDS Drug Manufacturer Triangle Pharmaceuticals
California-based Gilead Sciences has agreed to buy North Carolina-based Triangle Pharmaceuticals for $464 million, the Raleigh News & Observer reports. The sale will give Triangle a "much-needed cash infusion"; Triangle CEO Daniel Welch said the company had enough funds to operate until the middle of next year (Ranii, Raleigh News & Observer, 12/5). The deal "strengthens" Gilead's development portfolio with three of Triangle's experimental HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B drugs that are expected to reach the market in the next couple of years, including Coviracil, the "crown jewel" of the acquisition -- Coviracil, the Los Angeles Times reports. According to Gilead's Chief Operating Officer Mark Perry, Coviracil, a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor, could be combined with Gilead's AIDS drug Viread to create a once-a-day tablet (Gellene, Los Angeles Times, 12/5). The FDA could approve Coviracil sometime next year, the News & Observer reports. "Both products are very strong, once-a-day products that are very safe and effective individually. We think the combined product will be an outstanding product," Welch said (Raleigh News & Observer, 12/5). Gilead paid $6 per share for the Triangle stock -- a 33% premium over Triangle's closing price of $4.50 on Tuesday. Such a payment "is rare for the acquiring company but seemed to reflect the opinion of investors that the deal made sense for Gilead because of the overlap of the companies," the New York Times reports (Pollack, New York Times, 12/5). The deal must still be approved by shareholders holding more than 50% of the outstanding shares; however, according to Welch, the approval "shouldn't be a problem" because the board owns 41% of the shares, the News & Observer reports. Welch plans to leave the company when the sale is complete, likely in the next three months (Raleigh News & Observer, 12/5).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.