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Sanofi takeover bid rebuffed by Medivation

Had sought to boost its portfolio by acquiring the US cancer therapies firm

Sanofi

Medivation is reported to have been targeted for takeover by Sanofi, but rejected the big pharma company's advances.

Citing sources close to the matter, Bloomberg suggests that Sanofi continues to target Medivation and has not ruled out a hostile takeover for the US firm, which develops and markets cancer therapies.

Sanofi has been making a concerted effort to expand in cancer, implementing a major research drive in 2009, but is considered to have underperformed in terms of bringing new drugs through development and buying Medivation would give it an immediate boost.

Medivation has partnered with Astellas to sell prostate cancer drug Xtandi (enzalutamide) for advanced castration-resistant prostate cancer and is also developing the drug for other prostate cancer indications as well as hepatocellular carcinoma and breast cancer.

Sales of Xtandi reached $1.9bn last year, an 80% increase on 2014 that has been driven by its approval in the pre-chemotherapy setting as well as data showing it is more effective than widely-used prostate cancer drug bicalutamide, which could soon be added to the drug's label in Europe.

Towards the end of last year the drug overtook rival therapy Johnson & Jonson's Zytiga (abiraterone) in the US in terms of new prescriptions, according to Medivation.

Meanwhile, Medivation has a well-regarded cancer pipeline headed by PARP inhibitor talazoparib (MDV3800) - licensed from BioMarin - in phase III trials for the treatment of patients with breast cancer whose BRCA genes contain germline mutations. It is also in earlier stage trials for a number of other solid tumours.

Medivation also has immuno-oncology candidate pidilizumab (MDV9300) - licensed from CureTech - in a phase II trial involving patients with relapsed or refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLCBL), which could potentially support a regulatory filing.

Chief executive David Hung said recently the company was poised to move away from its reliance on Xtandi as its pipeline matured, and his bullish comments suggest Medivation will hold out for a premium offer if it decides to sell.

Those three assets alone make Medivation an enticing prospect for takeover at the right price and in recent weeks rumours have been circulating that multiple companies have started to eye up the company, with Amgen and Bayer also mentioned alongside Sanofi in dispatches.

At the end of March speculation drove the company's share price up by almost a quarter and it has remained elevated ever since. In the wake of yesterday's Bloomberg report the shares added another 9% in after-hours trading.

By its own admission, Sanofi has been light on product launches in recent years. However, it is going through a fertile stage at present, with recent approvals for cholesterol drug Praluent (alirocumab) and dengue fever vaccine Dengvaxia and new diabetes hope LixiLan (lixisenatide/insulin glargine) due for an FDA decision in August.

The company has said its pipeline could deliver products with sales potential of up to €30bn in the first five years.

Article by
Phil Taylor

13th April 2016

From: Sales

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