Bayer's Nexavar falters in another lung cancer trial

Once again, Bayer sent Nexavar out to conquer new lung cancer territory. And once again, the disease defended itself too well. The company and its Nexavar partner, Onyx Pharmaceuticals ($ONXX), said the drug failed to improve overall survival in a Phase III study of patients who failed on other treatments.

Nexavar did deliver "an improvement" in progression-free survival, the companies said, but that was the study's secondary endpoint. "While we are disappointed that the primary endpoint was not met, we believe the study results will advance the scientific knowledge in lung cancer," Bayer Healthcare's Dimitris Voliotis said in a statement.

The 700-patient MISSION trial results mirror previous findings, in a study testing Nexavar as a first-line treatment in combination with two chemo drugs, PM Live points out. And they resemble results delivered by Pfizer's ($PFE) Sutent--also an oral anti-VEGF drug--which, combined with Roche's ($RHHBY) Tarceva, failed to boost overall survival but did improve progression-free survival.

Back in the day, Bayer had projected a potential €750 milion in additional Nexavar sales from a lung cancer indication. The drug already brings in €725 million ($925 million) from approved uses in kidney and liver cancers. Baird analyst Christopher Raymond said the latest trial results "came as expected to most," and kept its neutral rating on Onyx.

- see the Bayer release
- get more from PM Live
- read Baird's note from StreetInsider