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Gilead Sciences Inc pharmaceutical company is seen in Oceanside, California, on April 29, 2020.

Mike Blake/Reuters

Gilead Sciences Inc. will acquire biopharmaceutical company Immunomedics Inc. for US$21-billion, a move that will strengthen its cancer portfolio by gaining access to a promising drug, the two companies said in a joint statement on Sunday.

The deal provides Gilead access to Immunomedics' breast cancer treatment drug, Trodelvy, which was granted an accelerated FDA approval in April.

Gilead said it would issue a tender offer to buy all the outstanding shares of Immunomedics for $88 a share, representing a premium of about 110-per-cent more than their last closing price of $41.93 on Sept 11.

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“This acquisition represents significant progress in Gilead’s work to build a strong and diverse oncology portfolio,” Gilead chief executive Daniel O’Day said in a statement. “Trodelvy is an approved, transformational medicine for a form of cancer that is particularly challenging to treat. We will now continue to explore its potential to treat many other types of cancer,”

Immunomedics is also on track to file for regulatory approval for Trodelvy in Europe in the first half of 2021, according to the statement.

The offer will be funded with US$15-billion in cash on hand, and through US$6-billion in newly issued debt, according to the drug maker.

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2020, the companies said.

The acquisition of Immunomedics is the latest of the several Gilead inked this year with the aim of expanding its oncology portfolio.

It bought a 49.9-per-cent stake in cancer drug developer Pionyr Immunotherapeutics in June for US$275-million, just months after paying US$4.9-billion for Forty Seven Inc., maker of an experimental treatment that targets blood cancer.

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