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Gilead could have had Pharmasset cheap

Posted on 24 November 2011

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Investors in Gilead Sciences may believe the company is paying too much to buy Pharmasset at $11 billion. Emory University researcher Raymond Schinazi, who founded Pharmasset, knows by just how much.

"They could have had the company for $300 million or less in 2004. Somebody made a huge mistake," Schinazi said in a telephone interview a day after the big deal was announced.

Schinazi, 61, is the largest individual shareholder of Pharmasset and saw the value of his own 4 percent stake leap to more than $440 million. The biotech is developing a hepatitis C treatment considered so promising that Gilead agreed to an 89 percent premium over Pharmasset's already soaring stock price.

Schinazi said he was surprised that Gilead, the world's largest maker of HIV drugs and a company well-versed in antiviral treatments, did not recognize what Pharmasset was offering when it solicited offers back in 2004.

"Now they paid the premium. Of course, now the risk has been reduced significantly," he said of the drug that has demonstrated impressive results in clinical trials.

See the full story at Reuters.

 

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