Medivation’s Prostate Cancer Drug is An Attractive Target for Acquisition

Medivation’s lead drug, Xtandi, is used for the treatment of advanced stages of prostate cancer. This drug has become an attractive target of bigger pharmaceutical companies. Just recently, Sanofi, a French Pharmaceutical company publicly announced that they will take no for an answer to buyout Medivation.

Sanofi offered $9.3 billion bid to win over this smaller biotech company. Analyst foretell that this amount may go even higher when other interested prospective bidders come in.  If this acquisition continues, this may be the biggest buyout of a biotech company since AbbVie’s acquisition in 2015 which was purchased by Pharmacyclics Inc. basing from the Bloomberg data.

In most biotech acquisitions, companies usually boast of their extensive product line with their list of candidate drugs.  However, in Medivation case, they only have one approved drug but with an enormous potential to generate billion of sales.

Xtandi got FDA approval last 2012 for the treatment of advance stage of prostate cancer. Since, then the market grows with a sale of $1 billion in 2015 from US market alone. Eric Schmidt, Cowen & Co. analyst noted that this type of sales is attractive for cancer drug maker companies to franchise.

Schmidt also added that there are only few mid-cap cancer drug maker companies that own a blockbuster drug. Thus, bigger companies are willing to pay a hefty price to acquire such drug.

As of the moment, both Sanofi and Medivation decline to give comment on this matter.

Xtandi: The Blockbuster Cancer Drug

Xtandi, is a blockbuster cancer drug of Medivation – it works by blocking androgen which is a male hormone that stimulates the growth of prostate cancer. It has become Medivation’s flagship drug when all other drugs failed to work against prostate cancer.

In the final stage trial in 2011, the experimental trial was stopped earlier than the schedule so that all the participants could receive the treatment.

Mary-Ellen Taplin, a Harvard Medical School Associate Professor of Medicine at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, also noted that one of the advantages of this drug from other treatment is that it is given in once-a-day daily dosing. If compared with other chemotherapeutic drug, Taplin said that Xtandi seems to be more user-friendly for the patient. Taplin handles the Medivation trial in Boston.

Xtandi’s annual price is estimated to be over $100,000 before deducting the rebates and discounts. In the first quarter, Xtandi’s initial sale is $307.6 million as compared with its competitor Zytiga of Johnson & Johnsons who earns $272 million.

Half of Medivation’s earnings will go to Astellas Pharma Inc., a Tokyo-based company.

More Targeted Therapies

Xtandi market is expected to expand; the drug is now being tested for early stages of prostate cancer and for late stages of breast cancers.  Since there is no result yet, it is not yet confirmed if this drug will be a front-line treatment for these conditions.  But, if the experimental trial shows positive result, then the market for this drug will be doubled or tripled.

Medivation may seem not to be a good target for acquisition because it has a Japan-based partner which means half of the revenues will be shared. But this is not the first deal with this kind of arrangement. AbbVie generated $21 billion for Pharmacyclics for a single drug called Imbrvica and they are partnered with J&J.

Medivations Promising Pipelines

Medivation has other potential pipelines with its two experimental candidate drugs. The company is currently testing pidilizumab which will be used for blood cancers.  But as of the moment, the clinical trial is in mid-stage so it is not yet clear how it works.

Another potential cancer treatment is talazoparib that will be used for breast cancer patient.  This drug was acquired by Medivation to BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc.   The drug is currently in its final testing for advanced breast cancer patients who have BRCA mutations.

Medivation expects that talazoparib will generate sales of $30 billion which is twice that of Xtandi. They are hoping that talazoparib will work on the protein called PARP which is involved in DNA repair.  This is a new drug mechanism and researchers are still looking if PARP inhibitors will work in cancers with a particular mutation.

The results are expected to be released on the first half of 2017.  More other tests are being conducted for ovarian cancer, prostate cancer and small cell lung cancer.

Medivation’s Say No Policy?

Medivation has continuously rejected any prospective buyers. A lot of companies have expressed their interest to acquire the company including Sanofi with a billion dollar offer, but it doesn’t change the company’s decision.  There are a lot of speculations going on, and people are looking into where this buyout news will be headed to.


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