Pharmaceutical giants, advocacy groups, a biotech firm and a major research university are currently locked in disputes involving a new prostate cancer drug.
The Los Angeles Times this week detailed the saga of Xtandi, which was discovered by scientists at the University of California-Los Angeles more than a decade ago and is currently sold by San Francisco-based Medivation for some $129,000 per year.
Medivation recently entered into confidentiality agreements with Sanofi, Pfizer, Celgene and possibly others amid potential merger talks.
The firm recently rejected multi-billion dollar overtures from Sanofi, the first of which prompted the French company to mount an effort to oust Medivation’s board of directors.
The drug exemplifies the importance of new — and expensive — cancer drugs to biotech and pharmaceutical companies. But the merger talks also come amid growing health care costs in the U.S. and louder criticism of high drug prices.
Two nonprofits asked the federal government to allow other companies to sell Xtandi at lower prices. They argued, in part, that UCLA discovered the drug with help from grants funded by taxpayers.
The university and the scientists who discovered Xtandi received more than $1 billion for the rights to the drug earlier this year. More than $500 million went to UCLA — funding that is now used to support research, fellowships and scholarships.
The National Institutes of Health rejected the groups’ request last month, but they say they plan to appeal the decision and file another request after the White House changes hands next year.
Filed Under: Drug Discovery