AZ could jump into the Medivation fray with $10B bid: Report

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While several drugmakers may be circling coveted buyout target Medivation, so far, Sanofi is the only one that’s come through with a bid. But that could all be changing soon.

AstraZeneca is considering putting forth its own offer of £7.7 billion ($10 billion), The Sunday Times reports. According to the British newspaper, AZ scoped out Medivation earlier in the year, and it’s still interested in potentially making a move.

It’s easy to see why AZ--and plenty of its peers--may want to snap up the San Francisco drugmaker. Medivation has something special in Xtandi, a prostate cancer pill that’s already on the market--and racking up blockbuster sales. Plus, it’s got a shiny pipeline prospect in talazoparib, a candidate CEO David Hung has touted as a “best-in-class” PARP inhibitor.

AstraZeneca, which is working to notch a turnaround, could certainly use the cancer revenues; it’s marked oncology as a key field that’ll help dig it out of its slump and hit the hefty sales projections it put up when it was trying to evade hostile suitor Pfizer back in 2014. It also already boasts a prostate cancer-fighter--Zoladex--and it’s investigating PARP med Lynparza in that area, too, so there’s a “significant fit” for Xtandi in its portfolio, Credit Suisse analysts wrote recently.

But plenty of AZ’s rivals think they’ve got their own fit with Medivation, with eager Sanofi among them. The French pharma giant dropped a hostile play last week after Medivation included it in a set of potential bidders it invited to the table, inking confidentiality agreements with “a number of parties.” Pfizer, Amgen, Gilead, Celgene and others have reportedly been eying a deal, too.

And as The Telegraph pointed out in April, AZ and CEO Pascal Soriot have been known to avoid bidding wars; getting into one now could especially spook shareholders, considering an earlier promise from Soriot to largely avoid big buyouts.

- get more from The Sunday Times (sub. req.)

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