NICE says no to Nexavar in liver cancer

It's a good news-bad news day for Bayer and Onyx Pharmaceuticals' Nexavar drug. While Onyx CEO Anthony Coles touted soon-to-be released data on Nexavar use against breast cancer, the U.K.'s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence opted out on the drug for liver cancer.

The good news first: In a couple of weeks, researchers are expected to reveal full results from a study of 229 breast cancer patients at the European Society for Medical Oncology meeting. Preliminary data from that trial showed that Nexavar in combination with Roche's Xeloda chemo drug improved progression-free survival among breast cancer patients. "We think this can hold lots of promise for breast cancer patients," Coles told Bloomberg Television.

Now for the bad: NICE dealt another blow to Nexavar, rejecting the drug for liver cancer patients even after Bayer cut the cost of treatment. The cost-effectiveness watchdog has also nixed the use of Nexavar in kidney cancer. A Bayer executive protested the decision, saying that Nexavar is paid for in France, Germany, Spain and other European countries. We thought we had satisfied NICE's criteria for how Nexavar would be assessed," Nicole Farmer, the company's U.K. oncology chief, told Reuters. "[H]owever, the goal posts appeared to have moved."

- see the Bloomberg story
- check out the news from Reuters