Onyx Pharma CFO plugs cancer pipeline amid rumored sales process

Onyx Pharmaceuticals' ($ONXX) financial chief rattled off the reasons why the cancer drug company would make a nice buyout option in an interview with Bloomberg, walking a fine line by declining to confirm whether Onyx is seeking a sale of the company as two sources have told the news service.

Bloomberg first reported the sale talk back in November, and while some analysts agree that Onyx's marketed cancer drug Nexavar and the firm's late-stage pipeline fit the bill for a takeover, no offers have been made public. Pfizer ($PFE) and Takeda, two drug powerhouses aspiring to build their oncology franchises, have been identified as the kind of companies that would be interested in Onyx.

"We could have data or regulatory approval for three different products and as many as seven different indications," Onyx CFO Matt Fust told Bloomberg on Thursday. "Those are very large populations of patients with significant unmet need, which is inherently attractive to other interested parties."

South San Francisco-based Onyx is expected to have several significant data readouts and a regulatory decision in 2012. For starters, the FDA is expected to make a decision in July about the company's bid for approval of carfilzomib for treating relapsed multiple myeloma. And it's completed pivotal studies of its drug regorafenib, partnered with German drug giant Bayer, for treating colorectal cancer. Nexavar, also partnered with Bayer and approved for treating kidney cancers, is in development for combating breast, lung and thyroid cancers, Bloomberg reported.

It's an open question whether 2012 will be a big year for M&A activity in biopharma, but there's no doubt that many Big Pharma outfits are jonesing new products in areas where the medical need is high, like oncology. Onyx definitely appears to have all those attributes.

- get more in the Bloomberg article