* Nexavar not recommended by NICE for liver cancer
* Decision a setback for Bayer, Onyx medicine
LONDON, Sept 9 Britain's healthcare
cost-effectiveness watchdog has again rejected Bayer's BAYG.DE
drug Nexavar for treating liver cancer on the state health
service, despite a revised charging scheme from the company.
Wednesday's decision is a setback for Bayer and its partner
Onyx Pharmaceuticals ONXX.O, which have already seen Nexavar
turned down by the National Institute of Health and Clinical
Excellence (NICE) to treat kidney cancer.
Nexavar received a preliminary rebuff from NICE in May but
Bayer had hoped to convince the agency Nexavar was worth paying
after it put forward a patient access scheme that would have
reduced the cost of treatment to the National Health Service.
Bayer said the decision on its drug, known generically as
sorafenib, for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma was a
blow to patients.
"We thought we had satisfied NICE's criteria for how Nexavar
would be assessed -- however, the goal posts appeared to have
moved," said Nicole Farmer, the company's British head of
"This proposal by NICE conflicts dramatically with the
government's strategy to bring UK cancer outcomes in-line with
the rest of Europe, where Nexavar is already widely available in
countries such as France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Romania, and
Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common form of liver
cancer, accounting for 80 to 90 percent of all primary liver
Nexavar is one of Bayer's top new drug hopes, along with
anti-blood clotting pill Xarelto. It has proved successful
against liver and kidney cancer and Bayer is also pursuing
approvals for use against lung and breast tumours.
The German drugmaker believes it can generate peak worldwide
sales of 2 billion euros ($2.9 billion) a year from the drug.
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler)