Gilead to spend $11bn on firm

GILEAD Sciences yesterday struck a deal to buy biotechnology company Pharmasset for about $11bn (£7bn) in a huge and risky bet on the next generation of hepatitis C treatments.

Gilead, the world’s largest maker of HIV drugs, will pay $137 per share for each Pharmasset share, an 89 per cent premium for a company with no significant marketed products.

Pharmasset shares have tripled in the past year based on the potential of its experimental hepatitis C medicines to create a new standard of care for the 180m people worldwide infected with the serious liver disease.