Monday, March 02, 2020

'Perfect Example' and 'Broader Utility:' Pieces of the Forty Seven-Gilead-California Stem Cell Story

The history of the stock price of Forty
Seven, Inc., since it went public in 2018.
Google graphic

The stock price of Forty Seven, Inc., California's "don't eat me," cancer therapy firm, today closed at $$93.91 as the state's stem cell agency hailed the firm's performance as "perfect example" of the agency's value to the field and to the people of California. 

The closing price represented a stunning increase over the firm's record low of $5.53 last October. It came as Gilead Sciences, Inc., and Forty Seven announced this morning that the firm would be purchased by Gilead for $4.9 billion. 

Maria Bonneville, a spokeswoman for the agency, said, 
"Forty Seven, Inc., is the perfect example of CIRM’s value to the field of regenerative medicine.  We take pride in our ability to work with our grantees to make them as successful as possible and get them ready to partner in order to fulfill our mission."
Mathew Herper of Stat news interviewed Daniel O'Day, CEO of Gilead, today about the deal. Here is what Herper wrote
"So why purchase Forty Seven?

"'Because it’s novel,' O’Day said, referring to the company’s lead medicine, magrolimab, an antibody against CD47, a protein that cancer cells use to tell white blood cells 'don’t eat me.' The idea is that blocking this protein will allow the body’s immune system to attack cancer cells.
"'We had our eyes on Forty Seven for a while,' O’Day said. Data presented in two malignancies, myelodysplastic syndrome and acute myeloid leukemia, at last year’s annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology showed that the drug was doing 'some pretty special things,' he said. He said Gilead scientists believe that magrolimab could have 'broader utility' because it could be relatively safe and could be combined with other medicines relatively easily." 
The stem cell agency, formally known as the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), publishes anonymized summaries of what grant reviewers have to say about the applications from researchers. Here is the review summary for one application for $5 million in 2017. Here is the summary for a $10.2 million application in 2016.

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