August 20, 2020

Impact: Moderate

  • Gilead and Tango will expand a 2018 agreement into a multi-year discovery, development, and commercialization collaboration of novel immune evasion therapies in oncology.
  • The deal structure includes:
    • $125M up-front payments and a $20M equity investment.
    • Opt-in rights to up to 15 targets up to $410M per program in total payments from Gilead to Tango.
    • Gilead will have worldwide rights for programs over the next seven years, with the option to pay extension fees for Tango to lead activities through early clinical development.
    • In return, Tango will receive low double-digit royalties on net sales, milestone payments and royalties on ex-U.S. sales, and have the option to co-develop and co-promote lead products for up to five programs in the U.S.
  • The agreement will give Gilead access to Tango’s CRISPR-based functional genomics target discovery platform to explore investigational immune evasion targets in oncology.

inThought Analysis

This deal is a major endorsement for Tango, a platform company whose main assets remain in lead optimization that in April 2020, closed a Series B fundraising round worth $60M. Over the course of 2020, and with $25.8B in cash and short-term securities, Gilead has expanded significantly into oncology, beginning with the $4.9B acquisition of Forty Seven Therapeutics in March 2020, for its promising lead asset, the anti-CD47 antibody, magrolimab. In May 2020, Gilead closed a deal, similar in structure to the Tango deal, with Arcus, to gain access to its rich immuno-oncology pipeline that includes antibodies against PD-1, TIGIT, and ADORA, and a CD73 small molecule. In June 2020, Gilead acquired a 49.9% stake in a privately-held Pionyr Immunotherapeutics to develop MDSC antibodies against TME targets TREM1 and TREM2, with an option to acquire the remainder of the company. In July 2020, Gilead used a similar deal structure to advance an anti-HLA-G checkpoint inhibitor from Tizona Therapuetics. Finally, the company has bet on two investigational TLR-9 compounds from Mologen AG’s bankruptcy (lefitolimod and Enandim).

Gilead’s deal with Tango builds on its strategy by pursuing emerging IO and checkpoint targets from a platform company, but differs from the earlier deals in that most of the discovery and development of compounds remains to be conducted, and will likely depend on Gilead’s vast R&D infrastructure. However, the expertise built during Gilead’s rapid and substantial expansion into IO will likely guide decision-making and development regarding the targets identified by Tango’s platform.

Source: Gilead Press Release