Gilead Sciences NASDAQ: GILD is a biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and commercializes therapeutics. For many years since the company was founded, the company concentrated primarily on antiviral drugs to treat patients infected with HIV, hepatitis B or influenza. In 2006, Gilead acquired two companies that were developing drugs to treat patients with pulmonary diseases. The company has eleven commercially available products. Headquartered in Foster City, California, Gilead has operations in North America, Europe and Australia. As of Jan. 31, 2008, the company had 2,979 full-time employees.
The company's name and logo refer to the Balm of Gilead. Gilead (a place mentioned in the Bible) was famed for its small trees that produced a resin (similar to frankincense and myrrh) used in medicine is considered to be the "first genuine pharmaceutical product." The leaf in the logo symbolizes healing, life and growth, while the shield represents safety, strength and honor. Together they signify Gilead's efforts to use the healing power of science to create medicines that treat life-threatening diseases.
Gilead is a member of the NASDAQ Biotechnology Index and the S&P 500.
Gilead Sciences was originally formed under the name of "Oligogen, Inc." in August 1987 by Michael Riordan, a medical doctor who was 29 years old at the time. The name of the company was changed to "Gilead Sciences" in 1988. Riordan looked to Donald Rumsfeld as a mentor in the business world and to navigate the political waters. Under the technical leadership of scientist Mark Matteucci, the company focussed on discovery research, making small strands of DNA (oligomers) to assess the potential of genetic code blockers (gene therapy). Its development of small molecule antiviral therapeutics was ushered in by John Martin in 1992 with the licensing of nucleotide compounds discovered in two European academic labs.
In 1990, Gilead entered into a collaborative research agreement with Glaxo for the research and development of genetic code blockers, also known as antisense. This collaboration was terminated in 1998, and Gilead's antisense intellectual property portfolio was sold to Isis Pharmaceuticals.
Gilead debuted on the NASDAQ in January 1992. Its IPO raised $86.25 million in proceeds.
In June 1996, Gilead launched its first commercial product, Vistide (cidofovir injection) for the treatment of cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis in patients with AIDS. The company cooperated with Pharmacia & Upjohn to market the product outside the U.S.A.
In March 1999 Gilead acquired NeXstar Pharmaceuticals of Boulder, Colorado following two years of negotiations with the company. At the time, NeXstar's annual sales of $130 million was three times Gilead's sales. NeXstar's two revenue-generating drugs were AmBisome, an injectable fungal treatment, and DaunoXome, an oncology drug taken by HIV patients. Also in 1999, Roche announced first approval of Tamiflu (oseltamivir) for the treatment of influenza. Tamiflu was originally discovered by Gilead and licensed to Roche for late-phase development and marketing.
Viread (tenofovir) achieved first approval in 2001 for the treatment of HIV.
In January 2003 Gilead completed its acquisition of Triangle Pharmaceuticals. The company also announced its first full year of profitability. Later that year Hepsera (adefovir) was approved for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B, and Emtriva (emtricitabine) for the treatment of HIV.
In 2004 Gilead launched Truvada, a fixed-dose combination of tenofovir and emtricitabine.
In January 1997, Donald Rumsfeld, a Board member since 1988, was appointed Chairman of the company. He stood down from the Board in January 2001 when appointed Secretary of Defense at the start of George W. Bush's first term as President. Federal disclosure forms indicate that Rumsfeld owns between USD$5 million and USD$25 million in Gilead stock. The rise in Gilead's share prices from USD$35 to USD$57 per share will have added between USD$2.5 million to USD$15.5 million to Rumsfeld's net worth.
In November 2005, George W. Bush urged Congress to pass $7.1 billion in emergency funding to prepare for the possible bird flu pandemic, of which one billion is solely dedicated to the purchase, and distribution of Tamiflu.
In July 2006, the U.S.Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Atripla, a once a day single tablet regimen for HIV, combining Sustiva (efavirenz), a Bristol-Myers Squibb product, and Truvada (emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate), a Gilead product.
Gilead purchased Raylo Chemicals, Inc. in November 2006 for a price of $133.3 million. Raylo Chemical, based in Edmonton, Alberta, was a wholly-owned subsidiary of Degussa AG, a German company. Raylo Chemical was a custom manufacturer of active pharmaceutical ingredients and advanced intermediates for the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industries.