Bayer lifts peak sales estimate for prostate cancer drug

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A bridge is decorated with the logo of a Bayer AG, a German pharmaceutical and chemical maker in Wuppertal, Germany August 9, 2019. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

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  • Shares in partner Orion surge 22.7%
  • Bayer sees more than 3 bln euros in annual Nubeqa sales

FRANKFURT, Feb 18 (Reuters) - A therapy mix including Bayer's (BAYGn.DE) Nubeqa drug was shown to significantly prolong the lives of men suffering from metastatic prostate cancer in a clinical study, prompting the drugmaker to boost sales estimates for the product.

Nubeqa, when combined with standard therapy, reduced the risk of dying during the trial period by 32.5% in a comparison to standard therapy alone, the German company said in a statement on Thursday, citing trial results.

As a result, Bayer said it now expected more than 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion) in sales from the product in its best year, up from a previous target of more than $1 billion, making Nubeqa the most promising growth driver at Bayer's drugs division.

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Nubeqa, also known as darolutamide, is jointly developed with Finnish drugmaker Orion (ORNBV.HE) and the partner company's stock soared 22.7% at the 0800 GMT market open, while Bayer shares gained 1.9%.

Bayer, which is paying billions to settle U.S. claims its Roundup weedkiller caused cancer, needs to strengthen its drug development pipeline as its two pharmaceutical best-sellers, stroke prevention pill Xarelto and eye drug Eylea, face a decline in sales in a few years.

Nubeqa is already approved in non-metastatic prostate cancer that cannot be treated with standard hormone therapy, and the new results point to a larger market opportunity if regulators clear the wider use.

The drug is one of three Bayer pharmaceuticals that the company expects to generate more than $1 billion in peak annual sales, known in the industry as blockbusters, alongside kidney disease treatment finerenone and menopausal symptoms relief elinzanetant.

The trial's overall success was announced in December and detailed results were published in The New England Journal of Medicine on Thursday. read more

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Editing by Miranda Murray. Editing by Jane Merriman

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