Bayer and new partner Onyx crow over PhIII regorafenib success

Just two weeks after Bayer opted to settle a simmering legal spat with Onyx ($ONXX) over the rights to the late-stage cancer drug regorafenib, investigators published a set of positive data for the treatment. Investigators say the colon cancer drug hit its primary endpoint for improving overall survival among metastatic patients, triggering a move to unblind the study and offer the drug to patients in the placebo arm. And Onyx, which got $160 million in cash plus a 20% stake in future royalties from Bayer, was quick to crow about the clinical coup for the Nexavar lookalike.

"Patients with metastatic colorectal cancer are in need of new treatment options, and these data demonstrate that regorafenib increased overall survival," said Dr. Ted W. Love, Onyx's chief of R&D. "We look forward to seeing this promising therapy become available to patients as quickly as possible." This morning its shares shot up 16%.

Onyx and Bayer had slugged it out in a legal brawl over the rights to regorafenib, a cancer drug that bore a striking resemblance to Nexavar, a blockbuster cancer drug that Bayer had in-licensed. After insisting for two years that the two drugs were not comparable, Bayer recently threw in the towel, conceding a significant chunk of the royalties and paying cash for the Japanese rights to the drug.

"These data are significant because they demonstrate that regorafenib increases overall survival in patients with heavily pretreated mCRC, an area of high unmet medical need," said Dr. Kemal Malik, head of global development for Bayer. 

- see the press release