The Drug Giants’ Hostile Battle for Medivation

Amgen, Pfizer and Sanofi have a topic of mutual concern: Medivation. The latter firm rebuffed Sanofi’s proposal in April, and has been hotly courted over the past few weeks by the other two Big Pharma.

medivation_sanofi_biotech_xtandi_bernie_sanders_us_bipharmaMedivation (in San Francisco) was founded by a group of experienced professionals in 2004.

As a Biopharmaceutical company, it acquires early-development stage pharmaceuticals and medical devices that have promising clinical, intellectual property and commercial prospects.


Medivation’s portfolio consists of multiple oncology molecules, and their first drug on the market is the blockbuster Xtandi (enzalutamid) – an androgen receptor inhibitor.


(Credit: Medivation)

Xtandi works by blocking multiple steps in the androgen receptor signalling pathway within the tumor cell, and is currently approved for the treatment of patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer.  Xtandi sold in partnership with Japan’s Astellas Pharma, had sales of $1.9Bn in 2015.

In the US presidential campaign, Bernie Sanders used Medivation, as an example to contest the drug prices. In fact, Bernie Sanders sent a petition to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) asking the agency to hold a hearing on exercising on the prostate cancer drug Xtandi.

The current plan is to try and reduce Xtandi’s price by breaking a patent-protected monopoly.


Bernie Sanders and Elijah Cummings (Source: Business Insiders / © Thomson Reuters 2016)

Sanofi’s pursuit of Medivation…

Medivation rejected Sanofi’s offers at end of April ($9.3 billion) and in May (reiterated its rejection), commenting that Sanofi undervalued its leading oncology franchise, and innovative late-stage pipeline. Medivation offers marks a return to the biotech for Sanofi.

In fact, their most important biotech acquisition: Genzyme increased sales of its drugs by 20 percent in the first three months of the year, and is still super successful 5 years on. Sanofi’s CEO Olivier Brandicourt commented:

Combining Sanofi and Medivation represents a compelling strategic and financial opportunity to drive immediate and certain value for Medivation’s shareholders

Sanofi has since indicated that it’s willing to review the offer, but only if Medivation comes to the negotiating table…


Sanofi’s CEO Oliver Brandicourt explained by acquiring Medivation would be a good move (Credit: Sanofi)

And between Pfizer and Amgen? Who’s the likeliest winner?

Pfizer has also approached Medivation about a possible purchase of the biotech company less than a week after Sanofi’s offer. A deal with Medivation would mark another attempt to increase its drugs portfolio after it terminated their planned merger with Allergan in April. Pfizer has signed non-disclosure agreements related to merger talks.

Amgen is also among the interested companies. In fact, Amgen has also signed non-disclosure agreements with Medivation, which allow them to obtain confidential information about the company.

So it’s clear Medivation has gained the attention of multiple giant pharmaceutical companies and the winner of the battle could be the oncology leader.

However, there is no guarantee that Pfizer or Amgen will bid for Medivation…watch this space.

Feature Image Credit: Pixabay

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