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Gilead pays $80M up front for first access to Scholar Rock fibrotic treatments

Gilead Sciences Inc. has joined with Scholar Rock Holding Corp. to discover and develop treatments for fibrosis, a disease that scars tissues and vital organs and can be fatal.

Under the agreement, Gilead will pay $80 million up front for exclusive access to results of Scholar Rock's research in transforming growth factor beta, an inhibitor that targets what is thought to be a central regulator of fibrosis.

The up-front payment is a combination of $50 million in cash and $30 million of Scholar Rock common stock. Also available down the road is an option for Scholar Rock to gain $25 million in milestone payment for successful preclinical studies and a potential $1.43 billion based on research, development, regulatory and commercial goals. The research company would also be eligible for royalties.

Foster City, Calif.-based Gilead has recently signed a new CEO, Daniel O'Day, who previously led Roche Holding AG's pharmaceutical group.