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Sorafenib Doubled Progression-Free Survival in Phase 3 Trial of Patients With Advanced Renal Cell Carcinoma

WEST HAVEN, Conn. and EMERYVILLE, Calif., Jan. 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Bayer Pharmaceuticals Corporation (NYSE: BAY - News) and Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: ONXX - News) today announced that the New England Journal of Medicine has published their pivotal Phase III trial demonstrating that Nexavar (sorafenib) tablets doubled median progression-free survival (PFS) in patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC), or kidney cancer. The data, as assessed by independent radiologic review, are from the Treatment Approaches in Renal Cancer Global Evaluation Trial (TARGET) -- the largest randomized controlled trial ever conducted in advanced RCC.

"Historically, patients with kidney cancer have had limited treatment options and there has been a particularly critical need for new therapies to help patients with advanced disease," said co-principal investigator Ronald Bukowski, M.D., Director of the Experimental Therapeutics Program of The Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Center in Cleveland, OH. "This landmark study demonstrated the efficacy, tolerability and clinical benefit of Nexavar, which has rapidly become a valuable weapon against this devastating disease."

Based on these data, Nexavar was granted U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for the treatment of patients with advanced RCC, or kidney cancer, on December 20, 2005. Since then, Nexavar has been approved in nearly 50 countries.

"Nexavar was the first new drug approved for patients with advanced kidney cancer in over a decade," said Bill Bro, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Kidney Cancer Association (KCA). "With the advent of targeted therapies such as Nexavar, there has been remarkable change -- patients are experiencing improved outcomes without the toxic effects traditionally associated with chemotherapy."

Phase III Summary More than 900 patients with advanced RCC were randomized one-to-one to receive either 400 mg Nexavar or placebo orally twice a day in this randomized, multi-national, placebo-controlled Phase III study. The endpoints of the study are overall survival (OS), PFS, overall response rate and safety. PFS measures the length of time that a patient lives without evident tumor growth or death.

PFS doubled to a median of 5.5 months in patients receiving Nexavar compared to 2.8 months for patients receiving placebo (p In May 2005, due to the clinical and statistical significance of the PFS data, the companies unblinded the trial and announced that patients who were receiving placebo were allowed to "cross over" to drug treatment. The first OS analysis conducted immediately before cross-over found a 39% improvement in OS for Nexavar patients (hazard ratio 0.72, p=0.018). A further OS analysis performed six months following cross over was based on 367 survival events (patient deaths) that had occurred by November 30, 2005. Results showed a continued trend toward improved survival, with a 23% reduction in the risk of death (19.3 months for Nexavar patients versus 15.9 months for placebo patients; hazard ratio 0.77, p=0.02), despite the fact that nearly half of placebo patients had "crossed over" to Nexavar. Patients continue to be followed and a final survival analysis will be available in the first half of 2007. The Phase III data published in NEJM have previously been communicated at international scientific congresses.

About Nexavar
Nexavar is an oral multi-kinase inhibitor that targets both the tumor cell and tumor vasculature. In preclinical models, Nexavar targeted members of two classes of kinases known to be involved in both cell proliferation (growth) and angiogenesis (blood supply) -- two important processes that enable cancer growth. These kinases included RAF kinase, VEGFR-1, VEGFR-2, VEGFR-3, PDGFR-B, KIT, FLT-3 and RET.

Nexavar is currently approved in nearly 50 countries, including the United States and in the European Union, for the treatment of patients with advanced kidney cancer. In addition, Nexavar is being evaluated by the companies, international study groups, government agencies or individual investigators as a single agent or combination treatment in a wide range of cancers, including adjuvant RCC, advanced liver cancer, metastatic melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer and breast cancer.

About Kidney Cancer
Renal cell carcinoma is the most common form of kidney cancer. Nearly 208,000 people worldwide are diagnosed (about 37,000 Americans) with renal cell carcinoma each year and more than 102,000 of them die (about 12,000 Americans) from the disease annually. For more information on renal cell carcinoma, visit the Kidney Cancer Association (KCA) web site at: https://www.kidneycancer.org/.

Source: Bayer Pharmaceuticals Corporation; Onyx Pharmaceuticals

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