Amgen, Onyx huddle on $9.5B deal as other bidders fall away

Amgen is closing in on a deal for Onyx Pharmaceuticals. The biotech giant is working off a $130-per-share offer, or about $9.5 billion total--and that's too expensive for other shoppers who have been weighing their own bids, Reuters reports.

The news service's sources said a variety of potential bidders, including Big Pharma's neediest buyer, AstraZeneca ($AZN), took a look at Onyx ($ONXX) before the price scared many of them away. A rival bidder could still emerge, theoretically, but Reuters says Amgen ($AMGN) could announce a buyout agreement within a week.

Cancer and growth go hand in hand these days, and the companies looking at an Onyx bid are well aware of that. It's no wonder that a who's who in pharma-land were said to be considering an offer: Novartis ($NVS), Pfizer ($PFE), Merck ($MRK), Celgene ($CELG), Gilead ($GILD) and Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY), along with AstraZeneca and Onyx partner Bayer.

Onyx comes with several cancer drugs, including Kyprolis, the newly launched multiple myeloma treatment that Onyx markets solo. That drug has been going gangbusters since its debut last summer, and it's expected to hit $1.5 billion in sales by 2018.

And then there are Onyx's other marketed drugs, sold with partner Bayer: The blockbuster liver and kidney cancer treatment Nexavar and the more recent introduction in colon cancer, Stivarga, launched last September. Pegged with $1.25 billion in peak sales, the latter brought in €87 million ($116 million) for the first half of this year.

- see the Reuters news
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