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Onyx to buy Proteolix for $276m

Onyx has signed a definitive agreement to purchase privately held biopharma company, Proteolix for a cash payment of $276m

Onyx has signed a definitive agreement to purchase privately held biopharma company, Proteolix, which focuses on the discovery and development of treatments for haematological malignancies and solid tumours.

Proteolix' lead compound - a proteasome inhibitor, carfilzomib, is currently undergoing several clinical trials, which includes an advanced phase IIb trial in patients with relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma. Topline data from the phase IIb trial is due to be released in the second half of 2010.

"Carfilzomib is a next generation product candidate with a proven and well-validated mechanism of action, strong efficacy signals, demonstrated tolerability and a potential accelerated approval pathway," said Dr Anthony Coles, president and CEO of Onyx.

The acquisition will see Onyx making a cash payment of $276m and, dependent upon the achievement of a development milestone, a further $40m in 2010. Should carfilzomib achieve certain approvals in the US and Europe, Onyx will be liable for a further payment of up to $535m. This includes $170m based on carfilzomib receiving accelerated approval in the US from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

"There is a tremendous need for new agents in multiple myeloma that can extend and improve the lives of patients and be used in combination with existing therapies. Current therapies are limited by serious side effects, particularly neurotoxicity, as well as limited duration of response and resistance," said Todd Yancey, vice president clinical development at Onyx.

New data on carfilzomib will be presented at the American Society of Hematology meeting in December 2009.

Subject to clearance under the antitrust laws, the deal is expected  to close in the fourth quarter of 2009.

In partnership with Bayer, Onyx developed Nexavar (sorafenib), which is approved in more than 80 countries for the treatment of patients with liver cancer and in more than 90 countries for the treatment of patients with advanced kidney cancer. In a webcast on October 12, Dr Coles said that Nexavar was expected to generate sales of $850m to $875m in 2009 and to hit the $1bn mark in 2010.

12th October 2009

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