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Medivation, Astellas Prostate Cancer Drug Soars in First Weeks on Market


The drug Xtandi is forecast to generate $100 million in sales in first six months.

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Medivation's (NASDAQ:MDVN) newly approved prostate cancer drug passed a very early test as initial sales and a bullish forecast for the treatment Xtandi appear to validate expectations that it will become a blockbuster product.

In the drug's first 12 days of sales, the drug, Xtandi, generated revenue of $14 million. What's more, Medivation's sales partner Astellas Pharma predicted the treatment will produce sales of $100 million by the end of March 2013.

If the forecast holds up, those numbers would mean the drug will at least meet bullish Wall Street consensus estimates of $225 million in Xtandi's first full year of sales, Jefferies analyst Biren Amin says. Amin notes that the consensus numbers are skewed by estimates that show Xtandi well exceeding $300 million in first-year revenue. While Amin doesn't think the drug will reach those high-end estimates, the figures laid out by Astellas Thursday should give investors some comfort.

"Xtandi is well on track to at least meeting consensus estimates," Amin says. The early "results should assuage concerns around Xtandi's launch."

Shares of Medivation rose 3% to $52.51 in late-morning trading Thursday. The stock is up more than 500% over the past year. Astellas of Japan is traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

For drug and biotech investors, the early stages of a product launch can be a real white-knuckle ride. It can't be stated enough times that these are very early figures for Xtandi, but there are sky high hopes for Medivation's treatment and any bad news is going to send the shares down.

Last year, the Food and Drug Administration approved Johnson & Johnson's (NYSE:JNJ) Zytiga for treatment of men with advanced prostate cancer. That drug proved to be a fast-selling product. Zytiga sales were almost $700 million through the first nine months of this year. On the other hand, Dendreon's (NASDAQ:DNDN) prostate cancer treatment, the vaccine Provenge, has disappointed since being approved by the FDA in 2010. (Dendreon reports its quarterly results Friday.)

Twitter: @brettchase

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