Onyx Pharma shares soar on report of its hunt for options, acquirers

A report about Onyx Pharmaceuticals' ($ONXX) search for business alternatives such as a company sale has generated buzz in the biotech world. Bloomberg reported Monday afternoon that the South San Francisco cancer drug developer has hired Centerview Partners to aid its exploration for options, but neither the company nor the firm would comment.

With even the possibility of a merger-and-acquisition event, investors seem to get jazzed. Onyx's shares jumped more than 20% on Monday, Reuters reported.

Onyx, which developed the kidney cancer drug Nexavar, has another potential drug in its pipeline in carfilzomib, which could be just months from an FDA decision on its use for treating multiple myeloma. The company also recently settled its dispute with Bayer Healthcare, its partner for marketing Nexavar. The companies' deal lets Onyx off the hook for funding development of regorafenib, and the partners amended the terms of their Nexavar collaboration, Bloomberg reported.

"I would think that any potential acquirer would want to see the outcome of carfilzomib regulatory review," Howard Liang, an analyst at Leerink Swann, told Bloomberg. "We are only a few months away."

Bloomberg cited two unnamed sources familiar with Onyx's plans in its report, which was met with some skepticism among industry commentators such as TheStreet.com's Adam Feuerstein on Twitter on Monday. With large drugmakers starved for new products, drug developers with a commercial asset or two like Onyx's Nexavar are often discussed as buyout targets. Even companies without marketed drugs, like Pharmasset ($VRUS), which Gilead ($GILD) aims to buy for $11 billion, have wet the appetites of acquisition-minded drugmakers.

- check out Bloomberg's report
- and the Reuters article

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