Cancer finding sends Medivation shares soaring

A trial of the company's new drug was so effective that it was stopped early, which bodes well for its final approval.

By Kim Peterson Nov 3, 2011 11:04AM

Updated: 5:54 p.m. ET


A new treatment for prostate cancer was so effective that its clinical trial was halted early, and shares of the developer rocketed Thursday as a result.

Medivation (MDVN) shares saw their biggest intraday percentage spike since December 2004, Bloomberg reports. The stock soared 140.5% to $39.75. Shares closed Wednesday at $16.53.

The treatment is called MDV3100 and was in the last stages of development before being submitted for approval. The drug is a huge deal for Medivation, and the company was likely on pins and needles during the trial.

"There was a lot of anxiety about the event, so most of the investors who typically own companies like this weren't involved," one Sanford Bernstein analyst told Bloomberg.

Post continues below.

But the results turned out well. The drug, designed for late-stage prostate cancer patients, allowed men to live about 4.8 months longer. Their estimated median survival rose to 18.4 months, compared with 13.6 months for men who received a placebo.

The benefit was so clear that the study was stopped and the men who had been getting the placebo were given MDV3100 instead. The trial involved men with advanced prostate cancer who had previously tried chemotherapy. But Medivation's chief executive, David Hung, thinks it could work even on patients in earlier stages of the disease.

That could put the drug directly into Provenge territory. That drug, from Dendreon (DNDN), is considered an early way to first treat prostate cancer. But doctors haven't prescribed the pricey treatment as quickly as Dendreon expected, Bloomberg reports, leading the company to forecast modest growth for the fourth quarter. Dendreon shares were tumbling Thursday as a result.

Medivation's MDV3100 would compete directly with Zytiga, the prostate cancer medicine from Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), according to TheStreet. Zytiga studies show it allows patients to live about 3.9 months longer. The two drugs haven't been tested directly against each other.

Both of the drugs work by choking off the testosterone supply that prostate cancer cells feed on, according to TheStreet.

"If approved, MDV3100 will be a welcome option for men with prostate cancers that have progressed on hormones and initial chemotherapy," said one of the main investigators in the Medivation trial.
Tags: JNJ
Nov 3, 2011 12:01PM
I was happy when I saw the headlines but when reading this article it went somewhere I did not expect.............Your dying and your still going to die but now you can suffer for another 4 months and we can make money off you before you go.......................Get real, lets find a cure not a drug to make money on the dying.
Nov 3, 2011 11:55AM

More evidence that the drug companies are not really going for the cure only slowing things down a little so that profits can be assured into the future.....what a racket, and at the expense of millions of lives every year, it is SICK and WRONG!


Hype! The counry is going down ! The AMA , pharmetical manuafactuers have  their  hands all over this one.The doctors and pharmaceutical companies  can extend your bills for another 4 months while they get huge payouts and patients suffer.  who pays the cost ? oh right ....  and believe me after you die anyway, they will not hesitate to ruin your family's life to get their payments while calling those of us who want healthcare reform communists. 
Nov 3, 2011 1:50PM
So the stock market moves because ONE company has a drug that may increase a life by about 4.8 months longer.........Are you freaking kidding me!!!
Nov 3, 2011 12:28PM
But the results turned out well. The drug, designed for late-stage prostate cancer patients, allowed men to live about 4.8 months longer. Their estimated median survival rose to 18.4 months, compared with 13.6 months for men who received a placebo.

.............And THIS news was enough to double the stock????????????

No wonder, the "best and the brightest" of wall street can't figure wether or not greece is the reason for up or down swings in the market!

Nov 3, 2011 12:40PM
Really? Am I missing the point here? Is it that great (or would they have us believe it is) that extending our survival from cancer by another 4 months is wonderful, mind-blowing, stock-soaringingly great??? Where's the actual cure? Perhaps that's their good news - there is none because they won't allow a cure. Burzynski is on to something and has been practically duct-taped to keep most from finding out.  It would kill the pharmaceutical profit percentage from their own cancer poisons.
Nov 3, 2011 12:03PM
Please study antineoplaston research by Dr. Burzynsky in Houston, TX through the Burzynsky Research Institute. They are closer to curing Cancer than any other place and FDA will not tell us thanks to huge pharmaceutical company bribes.
Nov 3, 2011 11:38AM

Bingo, RUKdnME!


And we wonder why health costs are soaring?  If it leads to a bigger advantage when administered earlier then great.  But if it just buys a few months then no way.

Nov 3, 2011 2:38PM

Wow!  What stupid and thoughtless comments.  Where to begin?  OK, lets deal with the dumbest first:

Kumfa wrote:  Curing this is as easy as castration, either you live longer or be able to still get a boner. You choose which one you want

No, Kumfatable-being-ignorant, castration removes the testicles, not the prostate, which is inside the abdominal cavity.  Having one's balls cut out won't help his prostate cancer, but having your balls cut out would help prevent another generation of morons. 


Dolari thinks that a few months of extra survival is valueless.  The author's excitement, Dolt-ari comes from the fact that we're really onto something with this drug,  not just a statistical blip, but real progress.  This advance may beget others.  Maybe something as simple as attempting concomitant therapy with existing drugs could turn out to be even more effective, or maybe the line of thinking that created this drug can be extrapolated somehow.  If today we extent the life of a cancer victim by 4 months, in a few years we may find an actual cure by following this path.  Try to see beyond. 


And all of the hatred expressed in this blog toward the drug companies that do this vital research is misguided.  It costs money to conduct research and yes, some drug companiesd their investers are greedy, but I'd rather have greedy drug companies that succeed in making safe and effective drugs than charitable drug companies that don't.



Nov 3, 2011 2:09PM

If they can do nothing more for you...who would want an extra 4.5 months with stage 4 cancer anyway?

Nov 3, 2011 1:02PM
They haven't talked about the cure for leukemia because the Drug companies were not involved. It has been hushed up. They said the cancer disappeared. The drug companies don't want a cure.
Nov 3, 2011 4:46PM
Five extra months could give a father a chance to walk his daughter down the aisle.
Nov 3, 2011 1:40PM
So how much will people have to pay to live a few more months? maybe? This is considered a breakthrough?
Nov 3, 2011 12:52PM
Remember all the recent "findings", telling men NOT to get their PSA levels checked? Far better to let the cancer spread, then you could use one of these miracle drugs to extend your life for a few extra months.
Folks, you'd better look at the actual facts to see who controls the world we live in; who controls government, media and science?

Nov 3, 2011 5:27PM
For those of you ignorant to believe it take piles and piles of cash to research a drug, wake up . . . just pointing out how easily they are manufactured. Greedy, that's all pharmaceutical companies are!
Rigley - there is a significant difference between manufacturing a drug, versus discovering a drug.  The former may require only a recipe, but the latter requires a massive investment in talent and resources over many years.  Perhaps you should refrain from using the word 'ignorant' in reference to others. 
Nov 3, 2011 1:16PM

The most important thing is to have a prostate exam.  The recent stories about the PSA test being ineffective was due to the PSA results triggering unwarranted prostate biopsies.  The PSA should be tested and if high, the DRE should be performed.  If a lump or other abnormality is detected, then the biopsy performed. 


The problem we face today is most men do not want to have a prostate exam (DRE).  They feel uncomfortable and the doctors are not willing to push the importance of the exam.


With early detection, we won't need late stage prostate cancer medications, because he issue will be found sooner.

Nov 3, 2011 3:50PM
Shares rocketing..... meaning if ya need the stuff its going to be VERRRRRRY expensive.
Nov 3, 2011 1:22PM
i believe, you are all, missing the point, here. Look at the top of the page. this is a stock tip! nothing more. Good, bad, or backwards, this is a investment page. you're supposed to say, yay! i'll buy that stock! or blaa! they aren't interested in medicine,on the money page,
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