Bloomberg News

Medivation Surges on Prostate Cancer Drug: San Francisco Mover

February 03, 2012

(Updates with closing share price in second paragraph.)

Feb. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Medivation Inc. surged the most in almost three months after the development-stage drugmaker said its most-advanced product prolonged the lives of men with prostate cancer.

Medivation rose 22 percent to $67.57 at the close in New York, the biggest single-day increase since the shares more than doubled on Nov. 3, when the San Francisco-based company and its partner, Tokyo-based Astellas Pharma Inc., said the medicine was so beneficial they halted a study to give the treatment to all participants.

Men with prostate cancer that was spreading despite chemotherapy lived for 4.8 months longer if they were given MDV3100 rather than a placebo, with few serious side effects. The results are slated for presentation at the Genitourinary Cancers Symposium in San Francisco later this week.

“It’s a big deal when you see this kind of survival benefit with a pill” that doesn’t have a lot of side effects, said Howard Scher, co-principal investigator on the trial and head of genitourinary oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, by telephone. “This trial exceeded its expectations both in terms of the efficacy and the safety.”

If approved, the drug would compete with Johnson & Johnson’s prostate cancer medicine Zytiga, which was cleared by U.S. regulators in April for patients with late-stage prostate cancer who have failed chemotherapy.

Drug Differences

One difference between the drugs is that MDV3100 does not have to be used in combination with the steroid prednisone, Scher said. Otherwise, the Medivation trial produced “very similar results” to what was seen with Zytiga, Scher said.

The Medivation drug, called an androgen receptor signaling inhibitor, works to blunt the effects of male hormones that spur tumor growth, Scher said. Among other actions, the drug blocks testosterone from binding to its receptor in tumor cells. J&J’s Zytiga works in a different way to block machinery that makes the male hormones.

Another new therapy for advanced prostate cancer is Provenge from Dendreon Corp. in Seattle. It is a vaccine that stimulates the immune system against the cancer. It was approved in the U.S. in April 2010 after tests on minimally symptomatic patients who mostly had not had chemotherapy.

The Medivation drug was tested on a “much more advanced population,” Scher said.

--Editors: Reg Gale, Andrew Pollack

To contact the reporters on this story: Michelle Fay Cortez in Minneapolis at mcortez@bloomberg.net; Robert Langreth in New York at rlangreth@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at rgale5@bloomberg.net


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