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Biotech Stock Roundup: Medivation Buyout Rumors Resurface, Synta Up on Merger Deal

Medivation MDVN is back in the news again this week with AstraZeneca rumored to be interested in acquiring the company. Meanwhile, Synta’s SNTA shares shot up on news regarding the company’s merger deal with Madrigal.

Meanwhile, companies like AbbVie ABBV and Gilead GILD were present with data at The International Liver Congress.

Recap of the Week’s Most Important Stories

1. Once again, acquisition rumors regarding Medivation have surfaced with British drug maker AstraZeneca rumored to be considering a bid for the San Francisco-based company. According to the Sunday Times, sources claim that AstraZeneca has held internal talks but is yet to make a formal offer. AstraZeneca has supposedly been looking at the company for the last 6 months and is contemplating a bid of £7 billion.

This is the second time this month that Medivation has been rumored to be an acquisition target. Earlier this month, it was reported that Medivation had supposedly turned down an offer from Sanofi.

With Xtandi bringing in multi-million dollar sales and being developed for additional indications, Medivation has often been considered an acquisition target.

2. Orexigen OREX terminated its recently-initiated, multi-year CONVENE cardiovascular outcomes trial (CVOT) on obesity drug, Contrave. The move comes shortly after the company acquired full U.S. rights to the drug from Takeda. This was the second CVOT for the drug with the earlier study being terminated due to the revelation of interim data from that study.

Orexigen said that it intends to make certain changes for the optimization of the Contrave / Mysimba post-marketing requirement studies and remains committed to meeting the FDA’s post-marketing requirements for Contrave which include completion of a CVOT with a study report due to the FDA by Jan 2022. The company intends to finalize a revised protocol and will start a new CVOT after discussions with the FDA.

3. Synta’s shares shot up with the company announcing that it will be merging with private company Madrigal. The combined company will focus on cardiovascular-metabolic diseases and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Earlier, Synta was focused on cancer treatments but the company suffered a setback last year when it decided to terminate a late-stage study on a key pipeline candidate (advanced non-small cell lung cancer) due to futility. Soon thereafter, the company decided to cut down its workforce.

The Madrigal merger will provide Synta with a mid-stage candidate being developed for NASH and other indications (Read more: Synta Stock Up on Merger Deal with Madrigal Pharmaceuticals).

4. Gilead presented results from many mid-stage and late-stage studies on its experimental pan-genotypic, fixed-dose combination hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatments as well as three investigational agents for the treatment of NASH and primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) at The International Liver Congress. The company also presented new data on Harvoni showcasing its use in adolescents.

Meanwhile, detailed 48-week results from two large late-stage studies on once-daily tenofovir alafenamide (TAF) 25 mg for certain types of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection were also presented. TAF is currently under regulatory review in the U.S., EU and Japan with a response in the U.S. expected by Nov 11 (Read more: Gilead Presents Multiple HCV and HBV Data at Liver Congress).

5. AbbVie was also present at the meeting with new phase II data on its investigational, once-daily, ribavirin-free, pan-genotypic regimen of ABT-493 and ABT-530 for HCV genotypes 1-6.


Amgen AMGN gained (2.21%) the most last week among major biotech stocks, while Vertex declined slightly (0.19%). Meanwhile, Vertex lost 28.19% over the last six months with Amgen recording a gain (6.20%) during this period.

CompanyLast WeekLast 6 Months

The NASDAQ Biotechnology Index was up 1.27% over the last five trading days (See the last biotech stock roundup here: FDA Advisory Panels Say Yes to Intercept, No to Clovis).

What's Next in the Biotech World?

With the first quarter earnings season for the biotech sector kicking off this week, watch out for earnings reports from companies like Biogen and Vertex. Moreover, Sarepta’s SRPT experimental Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) drug, eteplirsen, will be reviewed by an FDA advisory panel on Apr 25.  

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OREXIGEN THERAP (OREX): Free Stock Analysis Report
GILEAD SCIENCES (GILD): Free Stock Analysis Report
AMGEN INC (AMGN): Free Stock Analysis Report
MEDIVATION INC (MDVN): Free Stock Analysis Report
SYNTA PHARMACT (SNTA): Free Stock Analysis Report
ABBVIE INC (ABBV): Free Stock Analysis Report
SAREPTA THERAP (SRPT): Free Stock Analysis Report
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