FRANKFURT/HELSINKI (Reuters) – German drugmaker Bayer and Finland’s Orion said on Wednesday a study showed a prostate cancer drug they are jointly developing can delay the spread of the disease to other parts of the body, boosting Orion’s shares.
A study on men with non-metastatic prostate cancer that could not be helped with hormonal therapy met the primary goal of showing oral drug darolutamide can delay the spread of metastases, the companies said in a statement.
Shares in Orion, which sold certain rights to the drug in a collaboration deal with Bayer in 2014, were up 5 percent at 1004 GMT, while Bayer’s shares were flat.
Full details of the trials will be presented at a medical conference, Bayer said.
Bayer added it would now speak to health authorities about a possible request for marketing approval of darolutamide, a compound that was granted “fast track” designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the prostate cancer setting, potentially speeding the approval process.
Orion also on Wednesday reported a quarterly profit below market expectations, but investors largely ignored that in light of the new drug’s prospects. “The quarterly report was just bad, but this drug can become a big thing for this company,” said Petri Kajaani, an analyst with Inderes Equity Research, who has an “accumulate” rating on the stock.
Orion’s products have in recent years faced increased generic competition while earlier this year the company decided to discontinue development of its drug for Alzheimer’s disease.
According to the darolutamide deal, Bayer has the right to commercialize the drug globally while Orion will manufacture the product and receive milestone payments upon first sale in different markets.
Bayer shares slumped on Tuesday after a U.S. judge affirmed a verdict against its Monsanto unit that found glyphosate-based weedkillers responsible for a man’s terminal cancer.
(Reporting by Ludwig Burger in Frankfurt and Jussi Rosendahl in Helsinki; Editing by Mark Potter and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)