Business briefs: Onyx, Pfizer, Covidien

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Onyx Pharmaceuticals is poised to jump biotechnology tiers, reports the New York Times, following the company's refusal to be acquired by Amgen for $120 per share. Onyx refused the deal on Friday, and on Sunday turned around and said it was interested in other possibilities. The Times notes that the company's appeal goes beyond its fully owned multiple myeloma drug Kyprolis, and includes the royalties it gets for helping sell other companies' wares, such as Bayer's colorectal cancer drug Stivarga. Onyx also has dibs on 8% of royalties from an experimental Pfizer breast cancer drug, palbociclib. FierceBiotech says Bayer is probably going to enter the competition to boost its oncology standing.

A Phase III study shows that the Pfizer/BMS blood thinner Eliquis prevents clots as well as warfarin, and with fewer bleeding problems. The companies expect to use the data to expand the drug's indication to include venous thromboembolism. Approval would put the drug on the same footing as Janssen's Xarelto, which is already approved for VTE, reports Bloomberg. Leerink Swann analyst Seamus Fernandez told Bloomberg that VTE approval could be a big deal for Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb because part of Xarelto's VTE appeal is that it “is a big cost-saver for hospitals, driving incremental access and uptake.” It would also help fill out Eliquis sales, which have been sluggish.

Covidien's Mallinckrodt spin-off is done, reports the Wall Street Journal. The split means Covidien is now a device business and Mallinckrodt a pharmaceutical business. Divvying up business is nothing new, with recent examples being the Abbott/AbbVie split and Pfizer/Zoetis divide, as well as hints that Pfizer will then sub-divide into additional units in the future.

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