Onyx strikes $851M deal to buy Proteolix

Onyx Pharmaceuticals (ONXX) has struck a deal to buy the cancer drug developer Proteolix for $276 million down and up to $575 million more for development and regulatory milestones. Included in the prospective payments is a whopping $170 million for the accelerated approval of its lead drug, a mid-stage therapy for multiple myeloma.

"It's a perfect fit with Onyx. We're successful in developing, they are successful in discovery. We can help them with development," Onyx CEO Tony Coles told Reuters. "We have been monitoring a number of oncology compounds over the past year. Proteolix is the right fit."

The spotlight at Proteolix has been focused on carfilzomib, a cancer drug now in a 250-patient Phase IIb trial which should deliver data next year. And the developer says that it expects to get the drug into a combo Phase III study next year, studying a concoction that will include Revlimid and the anti-inflammatory dexamethasone.

Onyx is flush with cash from sales of Nexavar, which may achieve blockbuster status next year. Coles says that he believes that carfilzomib may hit the same pace eventually. Carfilzomib is in a new class of proteasome inhibitors. "Treatment options in multiple myeloma have historically been limited, and there is a tremendous need to expand the treatment paradigm with agents offering an improved efficacy and safety profile," said Michael Kauffman, M.D., Ph.D., chief medical officer at Proteolix.

- check out the press release
- here's the Reuters piece