Biotech stocks surge as Gilead announces a $12 billion takeover

Gilead will acquire cancer immunotherapy biotech company Kite Pharma Pharma for $US11.9 billion, the company announced early Monday.

The deal, seen as positive news for further biotech mergers, sent shares of competitor Juno surging 20% once markets opened.

Like Kite, Juno has been working to develop a highly personalised cancer treatment known as CAR T-cell therapy. It’s a type of cancer immunotherapy — or a therapy that harnesses the body’s immune system to take on cancer cells.

But Juno’s research efforts for CAR-T were stopped short last year after four people in its clinical trials had died, all from cerebral edema. One Kite patient also died from the same cause this month.

Other biotech stacks, namely Bluebird Bio, Bellicum Pharmaceuticals, and Cellectis also saw gains of over 9% in early trading Monday.

Shares of Novartis, whose CAR T-cell treatment received a recommendation from an FDA panel in July, were down .2%.

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