Compugen Ltd. (Nasdaq: CGEN) Soars 163% Pre-Market on Landmark Immunotherapy Deal with Gilead

Date: December 19th, 2023 - In a remarkable turn of events, Compugen Ltd. (Nasdaq: CGEN) is making headlines today, December 19th, 2023, with an astounding pre-market surge of over 163%. This unprecedented leap in the share price can be attributed to a groundbreaking announcement made by Compugen and Gilead Sciences, Inc., outlining an exclusive license agreement for a novel pre-clinical immunotherapy program with the potential to revolutionize cancer treatment.

The partnership between Compugen, a clinical-stage cancer immunotherapy company, and Gilead Sciences, a renowned biopharmaceutical powerhouse, centers around the licensing of Compugen's cutting-edge antibody program targeting IL-18 binding protein, including the promising COM503 drug candidate.

Compugen, headquartered in Holon, Israel, is recognized for its pioneering work in computational target discovery, which has propelled it to the forefront of cancer immunotherapy research. The COM503 antibody, a potential first-in-class solution, is designed to inhibit the interaction between IL-18 binding protein and IL-18, effectively freeing natural IL-18 in the tumor microenvironment and restraining cancer growth.

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"This collaboration complements our strategy of developing modalities that promote immune-mediated tumor killing and may enable new combination therapies with programs in our growing oncology portfolio," stated Flavius Martin, M.D., Executive Vice President, Research at Gilead Sciences. The agreement reflects Gilead's commitment to advancing investigational immuno-oncology therapies that can redefine cancer care.

Anat Cohen-Dayag, Ph.D., President, and CEO at Compugen expressed her enthusiasm for the partnership, emphasizing, "IL-18 is one of the rare cytokines which is naturally inhibited by an endogenous binding protein, presenting a unique opportunity to use a blocking antibody to increase the local concentrations of IL-18 within the tumor where it can potentiate anti-tumor immune responses, thereby potentially overcoming the limitations of systemically administered cytokines."

Under the terms of the agreement, Compugen will be responsible for ongoing pre-clinical development and a future Phase 1 study of COM503, after which Gilead will assume sole rights for further development and commercialization. Gilead's commitment to this venture is exemplified by an upfront payment of $60 million to Compugen, in addition to a near-term milestone payment of $30 million, contingent upon IND clearance of COM503, expected in 2024. Compugen stands to gain up to an additional $758 million in future development, regulatory, and commercial milestone payments, making the total deal value an impressive $848 million. Compugen will also be entitled to receive tiered royalties on worldwide net sales.

This partnership is significant not only for Compugen but also for Gilead Sciences. As of the first quarter of 2022, Gilead no longer excludes acquired IPR&D expenses from its non-GAAP financial measures. Consequently, this transaction is expected to impact Gilead's GAAP and non-GAAP 2023 EPS by approximately $0.03 - $0.05.

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Compugen's dedication to predictive computational discovery and Gilead's commitment to life-saving innovations make this collaboration a game-changer in the field of cancer immunotherapy. Compugen's existing portfolio includes promising candidates like COM701 and COM902, further solidifying its position as a leader in the quest to harness cytokine biology for cancer therapeutics.

Gilead Sciences, with a legacy of pioneering breakthroughs in medicine, continues its mission of creating a healthier world for all people by advancing innovative medicines in various therapeutic areas, including cancer.

As investors and industry observers digest this momentous development, the future of cancer treatment appears brighter than ever. The exclusive license agreement between Compugen and Gilead Sciences holds the promise of transforming the landscape of cancer immunotherapy, offering renewed hope to patients worldwide and further solidifying the positions of both companies as leaders in the fight against cancer.