AstraZeneca approaches US rival Gilead to discuss merger


AstraZeneca approaches US rival Gilead Sciences to discuss merger

In what would be the largest healthcare deal on record, AstraZeneca has approached its US rival Gilead Sciences to discuss a merger. 

AstraZeneca, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange, reached out to Gilead last month to gauge its interest, according to a Bloomberg report, but did not discuss terms. 

Gilead is said to have discussed the idea with its advisers, but has not decided how to proceed. 

Reaching out: AstraZeneca, which is led by Frenchman Pascal Soriot (pictured), has a market value of £111billion

Reaching out: AstraZeneca, which is led by Frenchman Pascal Soriot (pictured), has a market value of £111billion

The two are not thought to be in formal talks. Industry sources played down the likelihood of a deal, noting that it would be extremely difficult to pull together a merger of this size when dealmakers and advisers cannot travel abroad during lockdown. 

AstraZeneca, which is led by Frenchman Pascal Soriot, has a market value of £111billion, and is developing a Covid-19 vaccine in partnership with Oxford University.

Gilead, which is worth £76billion, has had its antiviral drug Remdesivir approved to treat coronavirus patients, after clinical trials showed it could improve their condition. 

Gilead declined to comment, while AstraZeneca said it would not comment on ‘rumours or speculation’.

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