Gilead to buy Cell Design Labs for up to $567 million

(GILD) and its cell therapy subsidiary Kite announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which they have agreed to acquire Cell Design Labs, Inc., gaining new technology platforms that will enhance research and development efforts in cellular therapy.

The deal strengthens Gilead's focus on CAR-T drugs, a new class of cancer therapies that involve genetically modifying a patient's own immune cells to better recognize and attack cancer.

Gilead said it will pay Cell Design Labs $175 million up front and up to $322 million later if certain milestones are reached in drug development and approval.

Gilead will acquire all outstanding Cell Design Labs shares, including the 12.2% that are now held by Kite. Emeryville, Calif. -based Cell Design Labs develops biotech to re-engineer cells for use in cancer treatments.

In August, Novartis AG's Kymriah became the first CAR-T cell therapy to get US approval, signaling a new era in the treatment of cancer.

Shares of Gilead rose marginally after the bell.