Healthcare Business

Onyx Pharma Tumbles As Skin Cancer Drug Fails Phase III

Douglas A. McIntyre

From BioHealth Investor

Shares of Onyx Pharmaceuticals (ONXX) dropped more than 30% on Monday after the company announced at a teleconference that its phase III clinical trial evaluating its cancer drug Nexavar failed to treat advanced skin cancer in patients in combination with chemotherapy.

Nexavar, which is co-developed with Bayer (BAY), is already approved to treat kidney cancer.

Both companies are still intent on broadening the potential uses of Nexavar. A late stage trial evaluating its use alone in non-small cell lung cancer was initiated earlier this year, and enrollment for a another late stage study in lung cancer in combination with chemotherapy.

Bayer was very optimistic about Nexavar’s sales potential for the upcoming year as it announced back on November 27 that it expects the drug to reach blockbuster status. In pharma jargon that means it could reach $1 billion in annual sales.

It is not clear how this latest setback will affect that goal.

Shares of Onyx ended trading at $12.18. The stock reached a new 52-week low during the day’s trading.