By Nina Trentmann
Biopharmaceutical giant Gilead Sciences Inc. selected an internal candidate to become its next finance chief, filling a key position on its leadership team as the company looks to further expand its portfolio beyond its core HIV treatments.
The Foster City, Calif.-based company Tuesday said it appointed Andrew Dickinson as chief financial officer, effective Nov. 1. Mr. Dickinson, currently executive vice president for corporate development and strategy, joined Gilead in 2016 following a nine-year tenure in investment banking. He will succeed Robin Washington, who is set to retire from the CFO role but will remain in an advisory capacity until early next year. Ms. Washington's planned retirement was announced in April.
Chief Executive Daniel O'Day -- who took the reins this year after a career at Roche Holding AG -- in recent months made several key appointments at Gilead, including a new chief medical officer and a new head of its commercial division. "With the new CEO, CMO and CFO now in place, this effectively marks the end of a transition period for the company," analysts at RBC Capital Markets LLC wrote in a note to clients.
Gilead described Mr. Dickinson as the architect behind the company's 2017 $11.9 billion acquisition of Kite Pharma Inc., a maker of cancer drugs, and its recent research and development collaboration with Belgium-based Galapagos NV, a company focusing on inflammation and immunology treatments.
Mr. Dickinson "transformed the way that the company approaches corporate development, expanding the kinds of transactions executed and implementing a broader and more strategic approach to deal-making," Gilead said in a statement.
Analysts expect Gilead to pursue more deals once Mr. Dickinson has established himself as CFO. "They are putting together a team of people who would be very capable of doing that," said Alethia Young, head of health-care research at Cantor Fitzgerald, a financial services firm. "They are messaging that by putting this type of CFO in place."
Gilead declined to comment beyond details included in a press release.
Gilead's balance sheet -- with $30.2 billion in cash, cash equivalents and marketable debt securities at the end of June -- provides Mr. Dickinson with ample flexibility, analysts said.
"They have the balance sheet to do multiple deals with early-stage companies," said Mohit Bansal, a vice president for equity research at Citigroup Inc. Mr. Bansal said he expects the company to spend several billion dollars on transactions similar to the one with Galapagos.
Gilead has various options, including a continued expansion into oncology treatments, cures for hepatitis B or inflammation and immunology drugs, said Salim Syed, head of biotechnology research at Mizuho Americas LLC, a corporate and investment bank. "They have a CFO now that has a history as a mergers-and-acquisitions banker," Mr. Syed said. "Capital allocation becomes a really important question at this point."
Before his time at Gilead, Mr. Dickinson worked for nine years at Lazard Ltd., where he was global co-head of health-care investment banking, and at Myogen Inc., a biopharmaceutical company that was acquired by Gilead in 2006.
Gilead's shares rose 1.2% Tuesday to $65.30.
Write to Nina Trentmann at firstname.lastname@example.org