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Investment Q&A

Not investment advice or solicitation to buy/sell securities. Do your own due diligence and/or consult an advisor.

Q: Gritstone Bio (GRTS) is a small, early-stage biotech company to which Gilead Sciences has provided some funding under an agreement announced on Feb 1, 2021:

"Under the terms of the agreement, Gilead will make a $60 million payment at closing, consisting of a $30 million upfront cash payment and a $30 million equity investment at a premium. Gilead will be responsible for conducting a Phase 1 study for the HIV-specific therapeutic vaccine and holds an exclusive option under the collaboration to obtain an exclusive license to develop and commercialize the HIV-specific therapeutic vaccine beyond Phase 1. Gritstone is also eligible to receive up to an additional $725 million if the option is exercised and if certain clinical, regulatory and commercial milestones are achieved, as well as mid single-digit to low double-digit tiered royalties on net sales upon commercialization."

GRTS share price has established a baseline after falling steadily since the funding announcement. Presumably Gilead did some due diligence before investing its own money, but the stock price could go to zero if Gilead walks away. However, it could also soar if the trials are successful. Would you consider GRTS to be a worthwhile speculative buy? What has been your experience of investing in early-stage biotech companies that have drawn the attention of Big Pharma?

Read Answer Asked by David on July 07, 2021