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Pipeline Update at Bayer

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The HeathCare segment at Bayer (BAYRY) has progressed well with its pipeline in the last few quarters. The company witnessed several product approvals and label expansions. The HeathCare segment provided a brief update on its five new pipeline candidates.

These candidates are selected for accelerated development and are expected to be in phase III studies by 2015. The candidates are currently in phase I and phase II studies.

The first of these candidates is finerenone (BAY 94-8862). Bayer is developing the candidate in a phase IIb study for the treatment of worsening chronic heart failure, as well as diabetic nephropathy. The candidate was found to be effective in reducing cardiovascular mortality in patients suffering from heart failure.

BAY 1021189 is another candidate at Bayer’s targeting the cardiology market. The company intends to initiate a phase IIb study on the candidate in patients suffering from worsening chronic heart failure by year end. Bayer is also developing molidustat (BAY 85-3934) for cardio-renal syndrome.

Molidustat is currently being developed in a phase IIb study for the treatment of patients suffering from anemia associated with chronic kidney disease and/or end-stage renal disease. The candidate performed encouragingly in phase I studies.

Apart from the cardiology segment, Bayer also focuses on the oncology and women’s health areas. Bayer also chose copanlisib (BAY 80-6946), an oncology candidate, for accelerated development. The company is currently evaluating the candidate in a phase II study in patients suffering from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The candidate has performed well in preclinical and phase I studies.

The final candidate under accelerated development is sPRM (BAY 1002670). Bayer is developing the candidate for treating patients suffering from symptomatic uterine fibroids. Bayer expects to initiate a phase III study on the candidate in mid-2014.

Bayer also provided an update on label expansion and further studies on five of its approved products. Bayer’s Xarelto is approved for five indications including stroke prevention in non-valvular atrial fibrillation, deep vein thrombosis (:DVT), pulmonary embolism (:PE) and reducing the risk of recurrent DVT and PE. Xarelto is also being developed for other cardiovascular diseases in phase III studies.

The company is looking to expand labels of oncology drugs Stivarga, anti-cancer drug Xofigo, pulmonary hypertension drug Adempas and eye drug Eylea. We are encouraged by company’s efforts to develop its pipeline.

Bayer, a large-cap pharma company, presently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and so does other large-cap companies like Allergan Inc. (AGN) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Meanwhile, Roche (RHHBY) looks more attractive with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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