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Here’s Why Shares of This Hot Biopharma Are Jumping

An illustration of T-cells fighting cancer cells.An illustration of T-cells fighting cancer cells.
An illustration of T-cells fighting cancer cells.Graphic by Tim Vernon—Science Photo Libra via Getty Images

Shares of Medivation (MDVN) rose nearly 6% in morning trading Wednesday after news broke that the San Francisco-based biopharmaceutical had rebuffed a takeover attempt from industry giant Sanofi.

Medivation, which Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has accused of inflating drug prices, is reportedly seeking a higher takeover offer. Other suitors have also shown interest in the cancer treatment company, Bloomberg reported Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

But Sanofi might not have played its full hand yet. The company is reportedly consulting with advisors to potentially make a hostile bid, while Medivation has defense adviser J.P Morgan to fend of its suitor.

For Sanofi, acquiring Medivation would give the French pharma giant a chance to galvanize two years worth of stagnating profits. In November, Sanofi revealed a new strategy aiming to snap up “money-spinning” drugs, a label that includes rare disease treatments.

Medivation is also developing immuno-oncology treatment pidilizumab, which harnesses the body’s own immune system to attack blood cancer cells. Immuno-oncology has become one of the most sought after ideas since it began showing promising results just about three years ago.

After hearing about takeover rumors back in late March, Credit Suisse pointed toward other companies that could benefit from merging with or acquiring Medivation: Roche Holding and AstraZeneca (AZNCF). Both companies also happen to be expanding their portfolios and developing immuno-oncology treatments.

 

Medivation also recently made headlines when Sen. Bernie Sanders and 11 other Democratic lawmakers made the company a target in their crusade against drug price gouging practices in late March. The team published a letter requesting a public hearing into the $129,000 price tag on Medivation’s prostate cancer drug, Xtandi. The drug, sold in conjunction with Japanese firm Astellas Pharma, is priced in the U.S. at roughly four times its cost in Canada, and three times its cost in Japan and Sweden.

Both Medivation and Sanofi declined to comment to Fortune.