First European Approval in New Class of Cancer Therapy
WEST HAVEN, Conn. and EMERYVILLE, Calif. — Mar. 30, 2006
Bayer Pharmaceuticals Corporation (NYSE: BAY) and Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: ONXX) today announced that the Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products (Swissmedic) has approved Nexavar® (sorafenib) tablets for the treatment of patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC), or kidney cancer, after nepherectomy and prior palliative or adjuvant therapy with cytokines (IL-2, IFN). Nexavar, which has been shown to double progression-free survival in patients with advanced RCC, will be marketed by Bayer in Switzerland.
“The approval of Nexavar in Switzerland marks an important step in the brand’s entry into Europe. We are pleased with the decision by Swissmedic, and proud that we can now make this therapy available to physicians and patients in this region,” said Dr. Gunnar Riemann, Head of Bayer HealthCare’s Pharmaceuticals Division.
Nexavar was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December 2005. In September 2005, Bayer filed for regulatory approval with the European Medicines Agency (EMEA). Pending a favorable review, market availability is possible in the EU countries in the second half of 2006. In addition, Bayer has completed filings in several countries, including Mexico, Australia, Brazil, Canada, and Turkey.
Nexavar is the first oral multi-kinase inhibitor that targets both the tumor cell and tumor vasculature. In preclinical models, Nexavar targeted members of two classes of kinases known to be involved in both tumor cell proliferation (tumor growth) and tumor angiogenesis (tumor blood supply) - two important cancer growth activities. These kinases included RAF kinase, VEGFR- 2, VEGFR-3, PDGFR-B, KIT, and FLT-3.
Nexavar has been studied in more than 20 tumor types and in nearly 8,000 clinical trial patients. It is currently in Phase III clinical trials for the treatment of advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), or liver cancer, and metastatic melanoma, or skin cancer. A Phase III clinical trial in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) was initiated in February 2006. In addition to company-sponsored trials, there are a variety of Nexavar studies being sponsored by government agencies, cooperative groups and individual investigators.
Important Safety Considerations for U.S. Patients Taking Nexavar
Based on the current, approved package insert for the treatment of patients with advanced kidney cancer, hypertension may occur early in the course of therapy and blood pressure should be monitored weekly during the first six weeks of therapy and treated as needed. Incidence of bleeding regardless of causality was 15% for Nexavar vs. 8% for placebo and the incidence of treatment-emergent cardiac ischemia/infarction was 2.9% for Nexavar vs. 0.4% for placebo. Most common treatment-emergent adverse events with Nexavar were diarrhea, rash/desquamation, fatigue, hand-foot skin reaction, alopecia, and nausea. Grade 3/4 adverse events were 38% for Nexavar vs. 28% for placebo. Women of child-bearing potential should be advised to avoid becoming pregnant and advised against breast-feeding. In cases of any severe or persistent side effects, temporary treatment interruption, dose modification or permanent discontinuation should be considered.
For U.S. Nexavar prescribing information, visit http://www.nexavar.com or call 1.866.NEXAVAR (1.866.639.2827).
Nexavar is being co-developed by Bayer and Onyx. The co-development collaboration calls for Onyx to fund 50 percent of the development and marketing costs for Nexavar worldwide, except in Japan. In return, Onyx has a 50/50 profit share in the United States, where the companies co-promote the product. In all other countries (except Japan) Bayer has exclusive marketing rights and Onyx’s profit share is slightly less than 50 percent. In Japan, Bayer will fund product development and Onyx will receive a royalty.
About Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is engaged in the development of novel cancer therapies that target the molecular basis of cancer. With its collaborators, the company is developing small molecule drugs, including Nexavar with Bayer Pharmaceuticals Corporation. For more information about Onyx’s pipeline and activities, visit the company’s web site at: http://www.onyx-pharm.com.
About Bayer Pharmaceuticals Corporation
Bayer Pharmaceuticals Corporation (http://www.bayerpharma.com) is part of the worldwide operations of Bayer HealthCare AG, a subsidiary of Bayer AG.
Bayer HealthCare AG, with sales of approximately 9.4 billion Euros in 2005, is one of the world’s leading, innovative companies in the healthcare and medical products industry. The company combines the global activities of the Animal Health, Consumer Care, Diabetes Care, Diagnostics and Pharmaceuticals divisions. Bayer Pharmaceuticals Corporation is part of the new Global Pharmaceutical Division, established January 1, 2006, which consists of the former Biological Products and Pharmaceutical Division and now comprises three business units: Hematology/Cardiology; Oncology and Primary Care. Bayer HealthCare AG employed 33,800 people worldwide in 2005.
Bayer HealthCare AG’s aim is to discover and manufacture innovative products that will improve human and animal health worldwide. The products enhance well-being and quality of life by diagnosing, preventing and treating disease.
Forward Looking Statements
This news release contains forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer Group management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Bayer’s public reports filed with the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (including its Form 20-F). Bayer assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.
This news release also contains “forward-looking statements” of Onyx within the meaning of the federal securities laws. These forward-looking statements include without limitation, statements regarding the timing, progress and results of the clinical development, regulatory processes, and commercialization efforts of Nexavar. These statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results and events to differ materially from those anticipated. Reference should be made to Onyx’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2005, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission under the heading ” Risk Factors” and Onyx’s Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q for a more detailed description of such factors. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward- looking statements that speak only as of the date of this release. Onyx undertakes no obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements to reflect new information, events, or circumstances after the date of this release except as required by law.
Nexavar® (sorafenib) tablets is a registered trademark of Bayer Pharmaceuticals Corporation.Return to 2006 Press Releases