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Medivation take on the market for breast cancer patients with BRCA gene mutations

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Medivation made a name for itself with Xtandi, the prostate cancer med that’s now giving Johnson & Johnson’s ($JNJ) Zytiga a run for its money. Now, it wants to challenge other drugmakers in the PARP inhibitor field, too.

The company snapped up BioMarin’s ($BMRN) cancer-fighting PARP inhibitor in a $570 million deal earlier this week, aiming to take on the market for breast cancer patients with BRCA gene mutations.

Medivation ($MDVN) will pay $410 million up front for the drug, talazoparib, with the rest in potential milestone payments, plus eventual royalties on net sales. Barclays analyst Geoff Meacham called it “a fair price” for the Phase III candidate, which could rack up its late-stage data as soon as the end of next year.

The Phase III drug could face AstraZeneca’s ($AZN) Lynparza, already approved in ovarian cancer and in Phase III in BRCA-mutated breast cancer, RBC Capital Markets analyst Simos Simeonidis pointed out. Then there’s niraparib, a Tesaro drug that’s also in late-stage study in that type of cancer, and Clovis Oncology’s ($CLVS) rucaparib, which won an FDA “breakthrough” tag last spring. Despite the competition, “we view this as a reasonable bet for Medivation as they look for another late-stage oncology asset,” Simeonidis said in a Monday investor note.

Medivation actually believes it has a leg up on that competition already. After announcing the deal, the company told analysts that it sees talazoparib as a “best-in-class PARP” that offers the potential to deliver potent benefits with fewer side effects.

Plus, talazoparib has potential to move into other types of cancer–including prostate cancer, where Medivation could leverage its Xtandi contacts and expertise. UBS analyst Matthew Roden quotes some research suggesting that the drug could beat the other PARP drugs in the prostate cancer field–and that it might be useful in a laundry list of other cancers, including uterine cancer and melanoma.

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