Pfizer acquisition of cancer drug company could advance oncology research

Published Online: Aug 23,2016
Laurie Toich, Assistant Editor
Pfizer recently announced its plans to acquire Medivation, a biopharmaceutical company that develops molecules for oncology.
Recent health insurer mergers could have deterred the $14 billion deal, but Pfizer and Medivation’s boards of directors approved the merger, and expect that shares will increase immediately, according to a press release from Pfizer.
“The proposed acquisition of Medivation is expected to immediately accelerate revenue growth and drive overall earnings growth potential for Pfizer,” said Ian Read, chairman and chief executive officer, Pfizer. “The addition of Medivation will strengthen Pfizer’s Innovative Health business and accelerate its pathway to a leadership position in oncology, 1 of our key focus areas, which we believe will drive greater growth and scale of that business over the long-term. This transaction is another example of how we are effectively deploying our capital to generate attractive returns and create shareholder value.”
Medivation comes with cancer drug enzalutamide (Xtandi), which is an androgen receptor inhibitor approved for use in patients with metastatic prostate cancer. According to the press release, the drug generated $2.2 billion in net sales within the past 4 quarters.
The drug is also in clinical trials to gain indications for hormone-sensitive prostate cancer, as well as advanced breast cancer and hepatocellular carcinoma.
“We believe the combination with Pfizer is the right next step in our growth trajectory and is a testament to the passion and dedication by which the Medivation team has delivered on our mission to profoundly transform patients’ lives through medically innovative therapies,” said David Hung, MD, founder, president and CEO of Medivation. “This compelling transaction will deliver significant and immediate value to our stockholders and provides new opportunities for our employees as part of a larger company.”
Medivation has a promising late-stage oncology pipeline, which includes 2 development-stage oncology assets, according to the press release.
“We believe that Pfizer is the ideal partner to extend the reach of our blockbuster Xtandi franchise, and take our promising, late-stage assets, talazoparib and pidiluzimab, to their next stages of development so that they can be made available to patients as quickly as possible,” Hung added.
Talazoparib is a PARP inhibitor currently in a phase 3 study for BRCA-mutated breast cancer, while pidilizumab is an immune-oncology treatment for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, and other blood cancers.
“The proposed acquisition of Medivation will build upon Pfizer’s success with our Ibrance (palbociclib) launch in HR+/HER2- metastatic breast cancer and with our strong immuno-oncology portfolio, and will transform Pfizer into a leading oncology company,” said Albert Bourla, group president, Pfizer Innovative Health. “Ibrance and Xtandi are anchor brands in breast and prostate cancer respectively, giving Pfizer leadership in 2 hormone-driven cancers. Similar to Ibrance in the breast cancer setting, Xtandi is being explored for its potential to move from metastatic prostate cancer to treat earlier stages of non-metastatic prostate cancer.”
Bourla added that the company’s offerings in prostate cancer and other diverse tumors can boost Pfizer’s existing immunotherapy catalog.
“Together, we believe Pfizer and Medivation can bring the full force of our combined research and resources to combat 2 of the most common cancers, as well as speed cures and make accessible breakthrough medicines to patients, redefining life with cancer,” he concluded.

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