CGI Pharmaceuticals Inc. has created a preclinical library of SYK inhibitors for rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases that it believes are best in class because they are more selective than competing compounds in the clinic. Gilead Sciences Inc. seems to agree, and is paying up to $120 million to acquire the company. The takeout represents a new disease focus for Gilead, which gains molecules that could have an effect on all three phases of the pathology of RA.
In the first stage of RA, inflammatory cells are triggered by auto-antigens such as type II collagen in the peripheral lymphoid region, leading to antibody production and deposition of immune complexes in the joints.
These complexes then activate macrophages, which release cytokines, chemokines and other inflammatory mediators. This phase, called the