Gilead has announced plans to licensed three preclinical antiviral programs from Novartis, including investigational agents with the potential to treat human rhinovirus, influenza and herpes viruses.

The antiviral deal will see Gilead acquire the exclusive global rights to develop and commercialise novel small molecules against three undisclosed targets, and under the agreement Novartis will receive an upfront payment and is eligible to receive up to an additional $291 million in potential milestone payments upon achievement of certain development and commercial milestones, as well as royalties on annual net sales.

The announcement “builds on Gilead’s heritage in antiviral research and development. We look forward to applying this expertise to advance the development of potential new treatments for viruses with limited therapeutic options,” said John McHutchison Gilead’s chief scientific officer and head of research and development.”

Gilead’s antiviral portfolio already includes among the most widely used medicines for the treatment of HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C, as well as influenza infection.

Gilead recently announced plans to enter into a 10-year global research and development collaboration deal with Galapagos NV, which will give Gilead access to an innovative portfolio of compounds, including six molecules currently in clinical trials.

Under the terms of the collaboration deal Galapagos will receive a $3.95 billion upfront payment and a $1.1 billion equity investment from Gilead, which it will use to expand and accelerate its research and development programs. It will receive an exclusive product license and option rights to develop and commercialise all current and future programs in all countries outside Europe.