Onyx CFO Says Experimental Medicines Make Drugmaker ‘Attractive’

Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc., the developer of kidney cancer drug Nexavar, is an attractive target for acquirers because it may receive regulatory approvals for several new treatments during the next year, Chief Financial Officer Matt Fust said.

Onyx was labeled the top biotechnology takeover target in 2012 in a survey last week by Mark Schoenebaum, an analyst with ISI Group in New York. The South San Francisco, California-based company was exploring options, including a potential sale process last year, two people familiar with the situation said in November.

“We could have data or regulatory approval for three different products and as many as seven different indications,” Fust said today in an interview. “Those are very large populations of patients with significant unmet need, which is inherently attractive to other interested parties.”

Fust declined to comment on the ISI survey or reports Onyx may be trying to sell itself.

Pfizer Inc., the world’s largest drugmaker, and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., based in Osaka, Japan, were named last month as potential suitors by Mizuho Financial Group Inc. and Tullett Prebon Plc.

Onyx has completed the last of three studies typically required for approval for two experimental drugs, carfilzomib for multiple myeloma, and regorafenib for colorectal cancer. Onyx also has trials testing Nexavar for breast, thyroid, and non-small cell lung cancer. Bayer AG, based in Leverkusen, Germany, is a partner with Onyx on Nexavar and regorafenib.

Onyx gained 1.1 percent to $42.96 at the close of trading in New York. The company has increased 20 percent in the past 12 months.

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