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Bayer spotlights positive PhIII data for fat-busting drug

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Bayer Healthcare touted upbeat data from a pair of late-stage studies of an investigational drug targeting chin fat, setting the stage for the giant to step into growing aesthetic treatment market. And the results provide a victory from Kythera ($KYTH), which licensed the injected drug to Bayer for markets outside the U.S. and Canada.

Kythera and Bayer's ATX-101, a synthetic version of a human bile component, beat placebo in reducing unwanted chin fat and scored positive reviews in patient surveys on chin appearance, Bayer said. The data from the two European studies come ahead of Kythera's expected results from late-stage development of the drug in North America later this year.

"The positive results of the Phase-II and Phase-III studies for ATX-101 make us confident that we are on the right road with our commitment to enter the aesthetic dermatology market," said Dr. Kemal Malik, Bayer's head of global development. "Based on evidence-based experience, ATX-101 represents a promising candidate for the reduction of submental fat."

Bayer grabbed rights to ATX-101 from Kythera in 2010 for $43 million up front and $330 million in potential milestone payments. The Germany-based healthcare powerhouse wants a piece of the market for treatments that make people look good. Aesthetic remedies captured nearly $10 billion in revenue in 2011, Kythera said last year in a regulatory filing.

For Kythera, which raised more than $70 million in an IPO last year, the anti-fat drug provides its best shot at a marketed product. And the Calabasas, CA-based biotech has big plans to expand use of the therapy to reduce fat deposits in other areas of the body after the initial application for fixing double chins. In the past, most patients have had to go under the knife to get rid of their extra chin fat.

- here's Bayer's press release

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