Onyx Pharma up; cancer drug may boost survival rate | VailDaily.com

Onyx Pharma up; cancer drug may boost survival rate

NEW YORK – Shares of Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc. jumped Thursday on optimism about a cancer drug it’s developing with German chemicals giant Bayer AG .Onyx, of Emeryville, Calif., said a cancer drug appeared to boost survival of kidney-cancer patients by 39 percent, compared with those using a placebo.Stock of Onyx rose $4.98, or 21 percent, to $28.69 in late trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market. Volume was heavy.Thursday’s strongest level was $28.88. On a 52-week basis, there was a high of $36.52 on March 21 and a low of $19.15 on Aug. 10.Though the interim data from a Phase III trial didn’t merit statistical significance as defined under the study’s protocol, analysts nonetheless deemed the findings encouraging, given that existing kidney-cancer drugs haven’t been shown to improve median survival beyond a year.”The 39 percent survival benefit appears to be a very strong trend and with a median survival benefit that seems to extend beyond 14.7 months it’s likely that Nexavar will post survival data that compares favorably to any competitor,” said Lehman Brothers analyst Jim Birchenough.Onyx and Bayer Pharmaceuticals Corp. are studying Nexavar, know generically as sorafenib tosylate, as a treatment for a range of cancers including those of the liver, prostate and breast. Nexavar would likely be a rival to Sutent, a drug under development by Pfizer Inc.Dr. Birchenough said the positive interim data appeared to upend a notion among some onlookers that Sutent holds more promise.The data, which researchers presented earlier Thursday in Paris, were culled following the deaths of 220 patients, rather than awaiting the 540 necessary to reach statistical significance under the study’s guidelines.Vail, Colorado

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