Onyx Pharmaceuticals ( ONXX) and Germany's Bayer said Monday a Phase III skin cancer trial of drug Nexavar was stopped early because it was determined the study wouldn't meet the primary endpoint of improved overall survival among patients receiving the drug in combination with chemotherapy.

There was little difference in the results for patients taking the drug in combination with chemotherapy and for those take a placebo and receiving chemotherapy, the companies said in a press release Monday.

"We're disappointed with the results of the study and that the therapy did not bring benefit to patients with melanoma, a historically difficult tumor to treat," said Dr. Todd Yancey, vice president of clinical development at Onyx. Yancey said the companies remain committed to investigating the potential of Nexavar in a wide range of cancers.

The drug already is indicated for use in treating liver cancer and kidney cancer.

Global Nexavar sales grew 82% year over year to $677.8 million in 2008. Nexavar is marketed worldwide through a joint venture between Onyx and Bayer, the German drugmaker.

In February, Onyx said sales of Nexavar would be in the range of $850 million to $875 million in 2009 and more than $1 billion in 2010.

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