Gilead Sciences, Inc. (GILD) Takes Lead Against AbbVie Inc (ABBV) On Crohn’s Disease Treatment

Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) might as well have quashed rumors making waves claiming it is planning to acquire Belgium-based Galapagos NV (ADR) (NASDAQ:GLPG). The drug maker is paying a $50 million milestone payment for the development of Crohn’s drug filgotinib, and that appears to be its main play for the moment.

Filgotinib Phase 3 Trial

Filgotinib is a JAK1-selective inhibitor designed as a novel treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease.  The drug is currently undergoing a Phase 3 trial as the two companies try to evaluate its efficacy and safety when used a once-a-day drug in doses of 100mg and 200mg versus a placebo administered in 1,300 patients.

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If everything goes as planned, Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) expects to complete the Phase 3 trial in late-2019 as it looks to get a head start with the drug ahead of AbbVie Inc (NYSE:ABBV)‘s Crohn’s disease drug ABT-494.  The drug maker is hoping for positive results on the current trials having reported disappointing clinical trial results on its ulcerative drug, GS-5745.

AbbVie vs. Gilead

Gaining approval ahead of its fierce rival is a key objective for Gilead, given that the same will go a long way in giving it an edge on the treatment of Crohn’s disease. However, AbbVie Inc (NYSE:ABBV) stands a better chance of gaining approval for ABT-494 for rheumatoid arthritis treatment, having begun clinical trials in January.

Prior to Galapagos NV (ADR) (NASDAQ:GLPG) working with Gilead, it had signed a $1.4 billion deal to develop and commercialize the drug with AbbVie in 2012. The deal was later terminated in 2015 after AbbVie Inc (NYSE:ABBV) started working on its own JAK1 inhibitor.

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Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) cannot make a takeover offer for Galapagos NV (ADR) (NASDAQ:GLPG) until the end of 2017 on an agreement that was signed when it made a $425 million equity investment in the latter. The drug maker currently owns a 14.75% stake in Galapagos. The investment comes at a time when the company is under immense pressure to pursue new revenue sources as a decline in sales of its lead drugs Sovaldi and Harvoni continues to evoke concerns.

Gilead’s stock was down by 1.19% in Monday’s trading session, closing the day at lows of $74.54 a share.

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Note: This article is written by Adam Russell and was originally published at Market Exclusive.