Gilead Sciences Inc. plans to buy Pharmasset Inc. in a cash deal valued at about $11 billion

Gilead Sciences, Pharmasset, acquisition, chronic hepatitis C virus, HCV, John Martin, Schaefer Price, all-oral regimen, PSI-7977, chronic HCV

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Gilead to acquire Pharmasset for $11 billion

November 21st, 2011

FOSTER CITY, Calif., and PRINCETON, N.J. – Gilead Sciences Inc. plans to buy Pharmasset Inc. in a cash deal valued at about $11 billion

Gilead said Monday that the acquisition will accelerate the development of an all-oral regimen for the treatment of the chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV). The companies said the combination also will leverage Gilead's infrastructure and expertise in antiviral drug development, manufacturing and commercialization.

The transaction was unanimously approved by Pharmasset's board and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2012.

"The acquisition of Pharmasset represents an important and exciting opportunity to accelerate Gilead's effort to change the treatment paradigm for HCV-infected patients by developing all-oral regimens for the treatment of the disease regardless of viral genotype," John Martin, chairman and chief executive officer of Gilead, said in a statement. "Pharmasset presented compelling Phase 2 data earlier this month further characterizing the strong efficacy and safety profile of PSI-7977 [its lead HCV product candidate]. The compound, together with Pharmasset's other pipeline candidates, represents a strong strategic fit with Gilead's vision, pipeline and capabilities. This transaction will serve to drive the long-term growth of our business, and we look forward to working closely with the Pharmasset team to advance a broad clinical program in HCV to address the unmet needs of patients and the medical community."

Pharmasset's compounds are complementary to Gilead's current HCV portfolio, and the transaction will help advance Gilead's effort to develop an fully oral treatment for HCV.

"We are excited to join together with Gilead, which shares our commitment to providing HCV patients with new, highly efficacious and safe oral therapies," stated Pharmasset president and CEO Schaefer Price. "We are very encouraged by the data from our Phase 2 studies of PSI-7977 and believe strongly in the potential of this compound to be a component in the transformation of the treatment of chronic HCV. Gilead's established expertise and leadership in the field of antiviral drug development and commercialization, coupled with the company's existing portfolio of promising compounds for HCV, make this partnership an ideal step to fully realize the potential of our promising molecules as part of future all-oral combination therapies for millions of patients in need around the world."

The $137 per share price in the roughly $11 billion deal represents an 89% premium to Pharmasset's closing share price on Nov. 18, the last trading day before the announcement, and a 59% premium to Pharmasset's all-time-high closing stock price, the companies said.

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