Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ONXX) is engaged in the development of novel cancer therapies that target the molecular basis of cancer. With its collaborator Bayer Healthcare, the company is developing a small molecule drug Nexavar (sorafenib). Nexavar is an oral small molecule RAF kinase inhibitor candidate. RAF kinase is a signaling protein involved in the regulation of the VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) and PDGF (platelet derived growth factor), two important molecules that play a key role in angiogenesis (the formation of a blood vessel). In order to grow, tumor cells must establish and cause proliferation of new blood vessels that supply nutrients and oxygen. Onyx and Bayer have previously demonstrated that Nexavar has both anti-proliferation and anti-angiogenesis characteristics. The companies are splitting the development cost and profits 50/50 for Nexavar worldwide except for Japan. Bayer will pay a percentage of royalty to Onyx on Japan sales. Nexavar has potential in a number of cancer indications. Approval for renal cell carcinoma (RCC) in the US came in late December 2005. On July 24, 2006, Nexavar was approved in Europe for RCC. Meanwhile, the company is filing Nexavar for liver cancer around the world. On October 30, 2007, EC approved Nexavar for the 1st line treatment of liver cancer and the FDA approved Nexavar for liver cancer in November 2007. Other potential indications are non-small cell lung cancer (phase III), breast cancer (phase II), and in combination therapy with chemotherapy agents. Bayer will manufacture the drug.
In 2005, the company booked $1.0 million in revenue from a payment received from Shanghai Sunway Biotech Co., Ltd. for exclusive rights to the p53-selective virus, ONYX-015. Onyx will also receive future milestone payments from its partners on clinical development and registration of resulting products apart from royalties on worldwide sales. In the third quarter of 2006 the company booked $0.1 million for licensing certain Onyx patents from the now discontinued therapeutic virus program.(Read more at Wikinvest )