Buyout target Medivation says cancer drug
could be 'best in class'
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[July 07, 2016]
By Deena Beasley
(Reuters) - Medivation Inc, which has
opened its books to potential buyers, on Wednesday said its experimental
cancer drug talazoparib is likely the best in a new class known as PARP
inhibitors and pivotal trial data could be reported earlier than
The San Francisco-based company on Tuesday agreed to provide
information to Sanofi SA after rejecting the French pharmaceutical
company's latest bid of $58 a share, plus $3 per share in the form
of a contingent value right (CVR) relating to talazoparib sales.
Medivation has also signed confidentiality pacts with Pfizer Inc and
Celgene Corp, sources have previously told Reuters. [nL1N19R1IC]
Medivation, known chiefly for prostate cancer drug Xtandi, is
conducting a Phase III trial of talazoparib in patients with breast
cancer linked to a mutation in BRCA genes, with initial trial data
expected in the first half of next year.
After recent robust trial results for rival Tesaro Inc's PARP
inhibitor niraparib, Medivation is considering the option of an
earlier data read out, Chief Executive David Hung said on a
PARP inhibitors are designed to kill cancer cells by exploiting
defects in a tumor DNA repair pathway. The only approved drug in the
class is AstraZeneca Plc's Lynparza, also known as olaparib. Other
experimental PARP inhibitors include Clovis Oncology Inc's rucaparib
and AbbVie Inc's veliparib.
Hung summarized data backing up his belief that talazoparib is the
most potent PARP inhibitor, the best "PARP trapper," has the most
convenient dosing schedule and a competitive safety profile, given a
superior ability to select its target.
He also said talazoparib could be effective against a broad range of
Medivation acquired talazoparib last year from Biomarin
Pharmaceutical Inc for up to $570 million and royalty payments based
on future sales.
Wall Street analysts said the sale made sense for Biomarin, which
specializes in rare diseases, not oncology. While talazoparib
appeared to be a potent PARP inhibitor, "the Phase II data is
similar to that produced by other PARPs, and therefore its
differentiation is unclear," Cowen and Co said in an August 2015
Hung did not address the buyout offers on Wednesday's call.
[to top of second column]
Sanofi previously used a CVR in its 2011 acquisition of Genzyme
Corp, which at that time was developing multiple sclerosis drug
Lemtrada. Under that merger agreement, Sanofi issued Genzyme
shareholders tradable certificates entitling them to payments if
Lemtrada won approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by
March 31, 2014, and further payments if it met certain sales
benchmarks after that.
The drug was approved by the FDA in November 2014, and Sanofi said
that "because of its safety profile," use should be reserved for
patients who had not responded adequately to two or more previous
Investors filed a lawsuit last year in U.S. District Court, Southern
District of New York, claiming that Sanofi deliberately slowed
development of Lemtrada, ignoring the FDA's concerns about the
designs of its clinical trials.
(This version of the story corrects attribution in second paragraph,
to "sources," not Medivation)
(Reporting By Deena Beasley; Editing by Bernard Orr)
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