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MSD joins Medivation race, says reports

Published on 18/08/16 at 07:57am

MSD, known as Merck in the US and Canada, is said to have declared its interest in buying US oncology drugs firm Medivation, according to a report by Reuters.

Medivation has been the target of a very public sustained pursuit from Sanofi in recent months. They rejected an initial $9.3 billion bid, but Sanofi has taken numerous measures to try push a sale, including proposing the replacement of the board at the company to one more amenable to Sanofi’s bid.

The company has one bona fide blockbuster in the form of Xtandi (enzalumatide), as well as a promising pipeline of cancer medicines.

Other players mulling a bid include Pfizer, Celgene and Gilead. For MSD, Medivation would provide an effective complement to its existing cancer portfolio, which includes immune-oncology treatment Keytruda (pembrolizumab). Their position was recently strengthened by Opdivo’s failure in a Phase III trial.

Medivation shares have been on a steady rise following Sanofi’s very public overtures, rising again as high as $66.59 upon the news of MSD’s interest. At the beginning of February, the share price was as low as $27.32.

Sean Murray

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