Gilead Sciences to acquire Oxford University biotech spinout MiroBio for $405M

U.S. pharmaceutical giant Gilead Sciences has announced plans to acquire Oxford University biotech spinout company MiroBio in an all-cash deal worth $405 million.

MiroBio is a clinical-stage company focused on developing treatments to “restore immune balance” in autoimmune patients, which is when a person’s immune system attacks their own body tissues. Spearheaded by Professor Simon Davis and Professor Richard Cornall, the company spun out of Oxford University in 2019, and has gone on to raise $130 million in venture funding, including a $97 million tranche back in June from a slew of backers including Oxford Science Enterprises (OSE), an investment firm that has backed more than 100 Oxford University spinouts since its inception in 2015.

The Oxbridge factor

Oxford University and nearby Cambridge University have long been centers of gravity for both VC and M&A activity. Back in 2014, Google snapped up AI-focused Cambridge spinout DeepMind, which in turn acqui-hired two AI-focused teams from Oxford later that year.

More recently, another Oxford University spinout called DeepReason.AI was snapped up by Meltwater in a $7.3 million deal back in November.

Founded initially as Oligogen back in 1987, Gilead develops antiviral drugs used in the treatment of Hepatitis B, HIV/AIDS, influenza, and — more recently — COVID-19. The company this week raised its sales forecast off the back of anticipated demand for its COVID-19 drug Veklury, which was given FDA approval earlier this year.

By taking MiroBio in-house, this will serve Gilead with MiroBio’s proprietary technology and “portfolio of immune inhibitory receptor agonists,” according to a statement.

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