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Bayer's Nexavar Holds Promise

Zacks Equity Research

The HealthCare Segment at Bayer (BAYRY) has been the key revenue generator at the company for the last few years. Nexavar is one of the leading revenue drivers at the segment. Nexavar is approved for liver cancer and advanced kidney cancer in over 100 countries around the globe.

Bayer and partner Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc., now a wholly owned subsidiary of Amgen Inc. (AMGN), submitted a marketing authorization application to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (:MHLW) in Japan for Nexavar for the treatment of locally advanced or metastatic thyroid cancer. Nexavar enjoys orphan drug designation in Japan for this indication.

In Jun 2013, Bayer also submitted regulatory applications in the U.S. and EU for Nexavar for the treatment of locally advanced or metastatic radioactive iodine (RAI)-refractory differentiated thyroid cancer. The regulatory filings were based on positive results from the phase III DECISION (stuDy of sorafEnib in loCally advanced or metastatIc patientS with radioactive Iodine refractory thyrOid caNcer) trial. Nexavar is under priority review for the indication in the U.S.

Results from the study revealed a significant increase in progression-free survival (PFS) of patients treated with Nexavar compared to placebo. Data revealed a 41% reduction in the risk of disease progression or death in patients receiving Nexavar compared to patients under placebo.

Bayer reported Nexavar sales of €200 million in the second quarter of 2013, up 2.6% year over year. Further label expansion will boost Nexavar’s sales. However, the oncology market is extremely competitive given the presence of companies like Roche (RHHBY).

Bayer, a large-cap pharma company, presently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). Other large-cap pharma stocks such as Roche and Allergan Inc. (AGN) currently appear to be more attractive. While Roche carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Allergan carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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