Onyx was also on shaky ground at the time and no one knew if Coles was the man to help turn the company around. The Bayer partnership established to commercialize the cancer drug Nexavar was deemed too one sided in the German's favor. Investors complained the Nexavar joint venture was spending too much money, preventing Onyx from seeing any profits from what should have been a money-making drug. Onyx was too reliant on Nexavar, with no internal R&D capability to develop new drugs on its own and seemingly incapable of in-licensing anything of value.

No one is complaining or concerned about Coles' stewardship of Onyx any longer. The company's relationship with Bayer is on a more equal footing, in large part because Coles and his team fought back against the German bullying. Case in point, when Bayer tried to claim full ownership of the colon cancer drug Stivarga, Onyx sued for its rights to the drug -- and won.

There's the Proteolix deal, as mentioned already, plus Onyx owns rights to another cancer drug being developed by Pfizer ( PFE), which many analysts predict has blockbuster status written all over it.

X to 10X. Well done, Tony Coles.

-- Reported by Adam Feuerstein in Boston.

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Adam Feuerstein writes regularly for TheStreet. In keeping with company editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Feuerstein appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.

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