Dendreon is apparently crying uncle, and seeking some other company to take it over.
The Seattle-based pioneer of cancer immunotherapy (NASDAQ: DNDN) is working with JP Morgan to find someone to buy the company, according a report Friday by Bloomberg News, which cited anonymous sources. Representatives for both Dendreon and JP Morgan declined to comment to Bloomberg.
If Dendreon follows through on the sale, it will be an ignominious ending for the onetime great hope of Seattle biotech. The company won FDA approval of sipuleucel-T (Provenge) in April 2010, making it the first company with an approved treatment that actively stimulates the immune system to fight cancer cells like an invading virus. Despite clinical data that showed the drug could extend lives with minimal side effects, Dendreon has never come close to living up to the multi- billion dollar sales projections many analysts put on the drug. It was unable to convince many doctors to prescribe the product, partly because of doubts about its clinical trial data, lack of experience in sales/marketing, and reimbursement questions in the early going. While Dendreon was struggling to get momentum, tough competing drugs from Johnson & Johnson and Medivation have swooped in to grab market share.
Dendreon, once worth more than $7 billion, now has a market value of about $400 million, according to the Bloomberg report. I’ll be sure to keep an eye on how this story turns out.
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