Gilead caps 2012 roll by bagging cancer drugmaker

Gilead Sciences ($GILD) has seen its stock price grow more than 80% this year on a number of positive developments. Already a leader in medications for HIV, it got a new combo med approved a few months ago. It last year made a big acquisition that put it at the front of the line for developing an all-oral, interferon-free combination hep C cocktail. Now it will pony up half a billion dollars to buy a Canadian company to move further into oncology drugs.

The world's biggest maker of AIDS drugs announced today that it will pay $2.95 a share, or about $510 million, to acquire YM BioSciences to get its work on a drug for treating a bone-marrow disease. Gilead pointed out that it has been building its oncology area in recent years and this deal advances that effort. Gilead expects the deal to close in the first quarter of 2013 and says it will pay cash for YM.

The Foster City, CA, company extended its blockbuster HIV drug franchise a few months ago with FDA approval of Truvada, the first approved HIV vaccine for patients who are not infected but at high risk. Then it got OK'd for Quad, its four-in-one HIV drug that is expected to get quick uptake despite the steep price of $28,500 a year.

Analysts have also been hot on Gilead's work to bring a new hep C product to market in a category they believe could hit $15 billion in a few short years. It extended its position there with the $11 billion buyout of Pharmasset, which it completed this year. 

- read the Bloomberg story 
- here's the release

Special Report: Gilead - Pharma stocks 2012: 5 biggest winners, 5 biggest losers

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