The pool of possible suitors for Medivation (MDVN) is widespread as dealmaking in the pharmaceuticals and biotech sphere continues to heat up, according to Jefferies LLC analysts.
"We expect multiple companies in our universe to join Sanofi in the race for MDVN," a May 11 report authored by analysts Jeffrey Holford, Ian Hilliker, David Gu, Colin White and Gavin Scott stated.
AstraZeneca (AZN) - Get Report , Bayer AG (BAYN) , Eli Lilly (LLY) - Get Report , Merck (MRK) - Get Report , Novartis (NVS) - Get Report , Pfizer (PFE) - Get Report and Roche are among those that may take a gander at the San Francisco-based cancer drug maker, according to the analysts.
The Jefferies note follows a Tuesday report by Reuters that said Medivation has decided to explore a sale after rebuffing an offer from Sanofi SA and garnering additional interest. The publication cited Pfizer and Amgen (MGN) as being among the group of parties that have already signed non-disclosure agreements with Medivation.
Shares of Medivation, listed on the Nasdaq, added less then 1% to about $61.36 in Wednesday morning's trading session.
Sanofi on April 28 went public with its non-binding cash offer of $52.50 per share, or $9.3 billion, for Medivation. That offer was subsequently rebuffed by the target on April 29 on claims that it substantially undervalued the company, whose current market cap sits north of $10 billion.
Last week the French drugmaker threatened to go hostile in the Medivation battle, saying it would move to oust the current board if the latter does not come to the table to discuss a potential transaction. Sanofi hinted that it would be willing to boost its offer if negotiations do take place.
Additional interested parties in the company might stem from Japan's Astellas Pharma which already co-owns marketing rights to Xtandi, Medivation's one marketed therapy, Wedbush Securities analyst David Nierengarten previously told TheStreet's subsidiary, The Deal.
Meanwhile, despite reports that Pfizer has held talks with Medivation, a source also previously told The Deal that the New York-based pharma giant is unlikely to engage in a bidding war for target after its recent stumble with M&A efforts.
The battle for Medivation is likely just the beginning of an uptick in M&A activity in the pharmaceutical sector, which "is about to hit a more rich catalyst environment" according to the Jefferies analysts.
Medivation's Xtandi, a prostate cancer drug, generated sales of $1.15 billion in the U.S. and $727 million overseas in 2015.
As biotech targets continue to sit ripe for acquisitions, one specific deal that we may see is a spin-version between Zoetis Inc. (ZTS) and Bayer's animal health unit, the analysts wrote.
"With Sanofi looking to potentially separate and combine its animal health division, Merial, with Boehringer Ingelheim's, Zoetis appears to only be left with Bayer Animal Health as a potential inversion vehicle in our view," the analysts wrote.
Looking at the major global pharma players, Jefferies' top pick is in the sector is Abbvie ahead of upcoming news relating to a drug patent decision.