Sanofi today confirmed its proposal to acquire Medivation for approximately $9.3 billion cash, a deal the pharma giant said would help rebuild its oncology presence as called for in a growth plan unveiled late last year.

“Last November, Sanofi outlined our mid-term strategy which includes rebuilding our position in oncology, one of the largest and fastest growing therapeutic areas in the biopharmaceutical sector,” Sanofi CEO Olivier Brandicourt, M.D., said in a statement. “With Medivation’s best-in-class offerings in prostate cancer, we believe a combination would benefit patients and, at the same time, generate value for shareholders of both companies.”

Sanofi made public a letter from Brandicourt to David T. Hung, M.D., Medivation president, CEO, and director. Brandicourt noted Dr. Hung’s rejection of his offer to meet during their first call on March 25, and rejection of the acquisition offer following Medivation board review on April 3.

“We are convinced that Medivation’s employees would find a very attractive environment within our Sanofi Genzyme specialty business unit and our R&D organization, giving them the opportunity to fully develop their skills and help bring new treatments to patients on a worldwide basis. We also strongly believe that Medivation shareholders would find our Proposal to be compelling,” Brandicourt wrote.

Medivation responded today with a statement saying its board of directors was evaluating the plan.

“As today's public disclosure of this proposal does not differ materially from the private correspondence received less than two weeks ago, the Board expects to complete its review of the proposal at a scheduled meeting today and will provide an update promptly thereafter.”

Headquartered in South San Francisco, Medivation markets the prostate cancer therapy Xtandi® (enzalutamide) in the U.S., and has a pipeline with two additional oncology candidates. Last year, Xtandi racked up $1.15 billion in U.S. net sales—plus $757 million outside the U.S. as reported by development partner Astellas Pharma—but has come under fire because of its high wholesale list price in the U.S. of $129,000 for a year’s course of treatment.

Medivation’s oncology pipeline includes talazoparib (MDV3800), an orally available poly(ADP ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor now in a Phase III trial in patients with gBRCA mutated breast cancer, and pidilizumab (MDV9300), an antibody with immune-mediated antitumor effects licensed from CureTech. “We plan to develop pidilizumab in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and other hematologic malignancies, such as multiple myeloma,” the company states on its website.

Sanofi reasons that Medivation would complement its own presence in prostate cancer and build upon its heritage in oncology drug development: “Medivation would benefit from Sanofi’s global capabilities, significant resources, internal pipeline of assets, and complementary product offerings,” the pharma added.

Sanofi’s offer comes to $52.50 per share—a 50% premium above Medivation’s 2-month volume-weighted average trading price (VWAP) before the possibility of an acquisition became the subject of market speculation.

Based on unnamed sources, Reuters has reported that Medivation has deemed Sanofi‘s offer as being too low, while the Sunday Times of London reported earlier this month that AstraZeneca is considering making a £7 billion ($10.2 billion) bid for Medivation. AstraZeneca has declined comment to several news outlets.

Eric Le Berrigaud, an analyst with Bryan Garnier, told Reuters that Sanofi could face a prolonged takeover battle for Medivation with other suitors—including Medivation's partner in developing Xtandi, Astellas Pharma.

Bloomberg cited a note to investors by Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Sam Fazeli, in which he concluded Novartis may be better able than Sanofi to boost earnings per share next year through a Medivation acquisition, and that Bayer may also find Medivation an attractive mergers and acquisition (M&A) target. Novartis and Bayer declined comment to Bloomberg.

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