Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

AstraZeneca approached Gilead Sciences last month about a possible merger, although the two companies aren't currently in formal talks, as first reported by Bloomberg.

Why it matters: This still feels highly unlikely but, if consummated, would be the largest health care merger in history. AstraZeneca has a current market cap of around $140 billion, while Gilead's is $96 billion. It also could portend a rash of pharma deal-talk ahead of treatments or vaccines for COVID-19.

The bottom line: "Most large biopharma deals arise from a position of distress, not strength, and Gilead today is far from distressed," per an SVB Leernik analyst note.

  • "It may suggest that AZN is looking to leverage its valuation and current strategic position by making a large acquisition to diversify away from dependence on its blockbuster oncology franchise."
  • "Other targets, such as perhaps Biogen, Amgen, or Alexion, may be equally suitable for these purposes, and could prove more amenable to overtures."

Go deeper: Wall Street forecasts blockbuster sales for Gilead's coronavirus drug remdesivir

Go deeper

Susan Collins says Senate should postpone Supreme Court vote

Sen. Susan Collins. Photo: Tom Williams/Getty Images

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said in a statement Saturday she believes whoever is elected in the 2020 presidential race should pick the nominee to fill Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Supreme Court seat.

Why it matters: Collins will be key in how the nomination process plays out. As one of the most centrist Senate Republicans, whether or not the Senate confirms Trump's SCOTUS nominee could hinge on her vote.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4:15 p.m. ET: 30,602,281 — Total deaths: 953,591— Total recoveries: 20,833,568Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4:15 p.m. ET: 6,751,119 — Total deaths: 198,969 — Total recoveries: 2,556,465 — Total tests: 93,150,052Map.
  3. Politics: In reversal, CDC again recommends coronavirus testing for asymptomatic people.
  4. Health: The dwindling chances of eliminating COVID-19.
  5. World: Guatemalan president tests positive for COVID-19 — The countries painting their pandemic recoveries green.
Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The new politics of global warming

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Getty Images photos: Ethan Miller and Chip Somodevilla

The 2020 election is both very different and very familiar when it comes to the politics of global warming and the stakes of the outcome.

What's new: Democratic voters are more concerned than in prior presidential cycles, polling shows.