Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

If combined, Gilead Sciences and Britain's Astrazeneca would have a market capitalisation of about $232-billion.

Mike Blake/Reuters

Shares of Gilead Sciences Inc. rose as much as 3 per cent on Monday after a report said the U.S. drugmaker had been approached by Britain’s AstraZeneca for a possible merger to form one of the world’s largest drug companies.

AstraZeneca contacted Gilead last month but the U.S. company, which is testing its drug remdesivir as a COVID-19 treatment, was not interested in combining with another big drugmaker, Bloomberg reported.

Gilead’s shares, which have risen about 18 per cent this year through Friday’s close, pared some of their premarket gains after CNBC reported citing sources that the companies were not in active talks.

Story continues below advertisement

AstraZeneca’s shares fell 2.8 per cent on the FTSE 100 as investors contemplated a large payout and questioned the rationale of a deal that would create a company with a combined market value of about US$232-billion, based on Friday’s closing prices.

A merger would also unite two drugmakers at the forefront of efforts to fight the novel coronavirus but could be politically sensitive as governments seek control over potential vaccines or treatments.

Gilead’s remdesivir is the first drug to show improvement in COVID-19 patients in formal trials, while AstraZeneca is racing to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 through its partnership with Oxford University.

“(Gilead) may be on the verge of having one of the fastest-growing products in the industry, if they can successfully establish profitable commercial pricing for remdesivir,” said SVB Leerink analyst Geoffrey Porges.

Any potential deal may suggest that AstraZeneca is looking to diversify away from its dependence on cancer drugs, he added.

Analysts also saw a deal as uncertain given the political environment.

Citi analyst Andrew Baum said he anticipated that the U.S. administration would likely seek to block any potential acquisition of any major U.S. biopharma involved in the development of future therapeutics for the pandemic.

Story continues below advertisement

Be smart with your money. Get the latest investing insights delivered right to your inbox three times a week, with the Globe Investor newsletter. Sign up today.

Report an error
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies