In addition to covering the breaking news from the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference, I've challenged myself to use the company presentations to learn more about a few companies I know little about. Yesterday, dental supply company Dentsply got a review. Today's offering: Medivation (NASDAQ:MDVN).

The development-stage drugmaker is running an astounding seven phase 3 trials and has finished analyzing data on an eighth. But don't start drooling just yet. Medivation only has two drugs in late-stage development; it's just testing them very thoroughly.

Medivation's most advanced compound is Dimebon, which enhances mitochondria function and is partnered with Pfizer (NYSE:PFE). It's believed that mitochondrial dysfunction leads to neuron death in neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Huntington disease.

The first pivotal trial for Dimebon in Alzheimer's disease seems to have gone well, with Dimebon performing better than Aricept from Pfizer and Eisai, Razadyne from Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), and Exelon from Novartis (NYSE:NVS) in at least one measurement. The caveat is that this wasn't a head-to-head trial, and comparing measurements across trials can be chancy because the trials may have enrolled patients with different characteristics.

Dimebon's next test will come from its phase 3 trial called Connection. The data is expected in the first half of the year, and Pfizer and Medivation could be filing for approval by year's end. Also, the companies are testing the drug as an add-on therapy to Aricept or Forest Labs' (NYSE:FRX) Namenda, but these tests are a bit further behind, which means there wouldn't be a filing until 2011.

The companies are also testing Dimebon in a phase 3 trial in Huntington disease. Presumably, they would move into other neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's and ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) if Dimebon works in its current trials.

Medivation's second compound, MDV3100, is a prostate cancer drug being tested in patients who have failed with sanofi-aventis' (NYSE:SNY) Taxotere. Besides Taxotere, there aren't many options for patients with advanced prostate cancer -- Dendreon's (NASDAQ:DNDN) Provenge may be approved this year -- which means only a modest improvement in survival may be required for approval. Medivation plans to test MDV3100 for patients earlier in the disease progression if the drug works.

Careful what you wish for
After listening to most presentations at JPMorgan, you may find yourself reaching for the buy button: CEOs tend to be good at selling their company. If you go in looking for a good investment, you'll likely find one, but I'd suggest digging a little deeper before you buy in.

In Medivation's case, the company's market cap tops $1.2 billion, but it doesn't have a drug on the market yet. While both compounds have a chance at becoming blockbusters, they also have the potential to die in phase 3 trials. With a largish market cap, that's a long way to fall. Tread carefully.

Motley Fool Rule Breakers is always on the hunt for hot drug stocks and other cutting-edge picks. See all of our latest discoveries with a free 30-day trial. 

Fool contributor Brian Orelli, Ph.D., doesn't own shares of any company mentioned in this article. Pfizer is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick and Novartis is a Global Gains recommendation. Johnson & Johnson is an Income Investor selection. The Fool has a disclosure policy.