Amgen Talks to Buy Onyx Said to Stall on Drug Trial Data

Buyout talks over Amgen Inc.’s proposed takeover of Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc. are held up over a dispute about access to data from an ongoing drug trial even as the two sides have a general agreement on price, said three people familiar with the matter.

Onyx is prepared to accept a $130-a-share all-cash offer and Amgen remains interested, the people said. At issue is whether Onyx will provide Amgen with data from a study designed for European approval of Onyx’s blood-cancer treatment Kyprolis, said two of the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private. Onyx doesn’t have access to the data as the trial is ongoing and doesn’t want to obtain results before the study is done as it may slow the approval process, one of the people said.

If the two companies can get past the issue, the $9.5 billion deal could be done quickly, the people said. The share price would be a 50 percent premium over $86.82, where South San Francisco, California-based Onyx’s stock traded before news of Amgen’s first offer became public in late June.

Onyx fell 7.2 percent to $115.34 at the close in New York, its biggest single-day decline since June 2012. Amgen fell less than 1 percent to $105.76.

Data from the drug trial are expected to be released in the first half of next year, Onyx has said. Amgen, the world’s biggest biotechnology company by sales, wants more data to help it value Kyprolis, one of the people said.

Sales Estimate

Revenue from Kyprolis may surge about ninefold to $2.4 billion by 2019, according to analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Onyx also sells Nexavar, for liver and kidney cancer, and Stivarga, for stomach cancer, in partnership with Germany’s Bayer AG. The biotechnology company reported $362 million in 2012 revenue, with 80 percent coming from Nexavar and Stivarga.

“Amgen does not comment on market rumors,” said Christine Regan, a spokeswoman for the Thousand Oaks, California-based company. Lori Melancon, a spokeswoman for Onyx, declined to comment on the report of the talks.

London-based AstraZeneca Plc is said to be interested and is still looking at the company, people familiar with the matter have said.

The sale effort began June 30 when Onyx rejected an unsolicited offer from Amgen for $120 a share and said it was working with adviser Centerview Partners.

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