By | Rachel Brooks
Staff | Telegraph Local
Above, from a recent Bloomberg Markets and Finance broadcast.
AstraZeneca approaches Gilead about a potential merger. This was initially reported by Bloomberg within the last 24 hours. AstraZeneca Plc. has made a preliminary approach to their rival drug maker Gilead Sciences Inc. Citing sources “close to the matter” this would be the largest healthcare deal in history. AstraZeneca is a healthcare firm based in the United Kingdom. Citing Bloomberg, AstraZeneca made the first move. The deal was broached informally last month. Details of the deal are private and so Bloomberg’s sources have not been named on the record to protect confidentiality.
The Guardian reported within the last 24 hours that the AstraZeneca approach of Gilead is directly relevant to the COVID-19 vaccination trials. The merger which would be at a value of 200 billion euros would be the “biggest ever”pharmaceuticals deal. It would coincide with the biopharmaceutical race to provide a COVID-19 trial vaccine. AstraZeneca and Gilead are among a series of other drug manufacturers racing toward COVID-19 trial completion. Among these companies are Eli Lilly, Pfizer and Merck.
Gilead has expressed interest more in partnerships and in smaller acquisitions at the moment. Meanwhile, AstraZeneca has been forging ahead with a 2bn dose potential coronavirus vaccine, and has, citing The Guardian, been involved in two hot deals that involve the Microsoft tycoon Bill Gates. These deals would mitigate early supply to lower income nations.
In the wake of the Bloomberg article, the headlines erupted with the idea that AstraZeneca and Gilead could be a potential match for a “megamerger” as Reuters called it. Reuters stated that such a deal would “unite” the two drug makers at the forefront of an industry-spanning effort to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, the deal could have political sensitivity weighing it down. Countries will seek to capitalize on the ownership and control of COVID-19 vaccinations, as stated by Reuters.
The possibility of a merger, if reports are accurate, is still quite vaguely defined. Reuters states that no one at Gilead was available to comment for their account. Reuters also stated that a spokeswoman for AstraZeneca relayed that the company does not comment on “rumors or speculation.”
Forbes reported that AstraZeneca’s share values are on an incline while Gilead’s shares have been on a soft decline. This was after a less-than-expected Remesdivir treatment success hailed from the world-leading HIV drug manufacturer. Forbes reports that Dr. Anthony Fauci recently denounced the Gilead-led treatment stating that it held a “reduced recovery time” in COVID-19 patients.
AstraZeneca received $1billion from the U.S. government for the production of the yet unproven coronavirus vaccine. AstraZeneca is reportedly working with the University of Oxford to work out a coronavirus vaccine, that will include a Phase 3 clinical and pediatric trial.
Forbes reports that AstraZeneca has been on a deal-striking streak as of yet, having reached a $6.9 billion deal with the Japanese drug maker Daiichi Sankyo Co. for breast cancer treatment.
As AstraZeneca now eyes joining hands with Gilead over the COVID-19 beating goal, China races ahead with its own remedy. Citing Forbes, China states that its equivalent of a COVID-19 vaccine could be ready by the end of 2020.