Kite Pharma share price jumps as Gilead Sciences to acquire it in $11.9bn deal

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Gilead has offered billions for Kite Pharma

Shares in Kite Pharma, a US pharmaceuticals firm, have rocketed more than 16 per cent in pre-market trading after reports that it is being acquired.

Gilead Sciences has confirmed it has offered $11.9bn (£9.2bn) for the company, in a deal first reported by the Wall Street Journal, $180 per share and a 29 per cent premium on Kite's share price at the close on Friday.

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Kite is developing immunotherapy treatments that use genetics to fight cancer. It's the first to seek approval for chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T) therapy in Europe after positive trials in the treatment of non-Hodgkins lymphoma and is also waiting approval in the US.

The deal positions Gilead as a leader in cell therapy, a cutting edge technology.

"The acquisition of Kite establishes Gilead as a leader in cellular therapy and provides a foundation from which to drive continued innovation for people with advanced cancers,” said president and chief executive of the pharma firm John Milligan.

“The field of cell therapy has advanced very quickly, to the point where the science and technology have opened a clear path toward a potential cure for patients. We are greatly impressed with the Kite team and what they have accomplished, and share their belief that cell therapy will be the cornerstone of treating cancer.

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"Our similar cultures and histories of driving rapid innovation in order to bring more effective and safer products to as many patients as possible make this an excellent strategic fit.”

The all-cash deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter.