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The HealthCare segment at Bayer (BAYRY - Analyst Report) initiated a phase III study on its oncology drug, Xofigo, for the treatment of asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic chemotherapy-naïve patients suffering from bone predominant metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC).

The study will evaluate the effects of Xofigo in combination with Johnson & Johnson’s (JNJ - Analyst Report) Zytiga (abiraterone acetate) and prednisone/prednisolone on symptomatic skeletal event-free survival.

We note that Xofigo is already approved in the EU for treating adults suffering from CRPC, symptomatic bone metastases and no known visceral metastases. The drug is also approved in the U.S. to treat CRPC patients suffering from symptomatic bone metastases and no known visceral metastatic disease.

We are encouraged by Bayer’s progress with Xofigo. However, the prostate cancer market looks crowded with the presence of players like Johnson & Johnson and Medivation, Inc. (MDVN - Analyst Report).

Xofigo is one of the newly launched products at the HealthCare segment at Bayer that have boosted segmental sales in recent quarters. Bayer recorded Xofigo sales of €41 million last year. The newly launched products − Xarelto (anticoagulant), Eylea (eye drug), Stivarga (oncology), Xofigo and Adempas (pulmonary hypertension) − at Bayer are expected to contribute around €2.8 billion to segmental sales in 2014.

These products are expected to drive growth at the company in the coming quarters. Most of these drugs are also being developed for other indications. Label expansion of these drugs will drive growth further.

Bayer presently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). However, some better-ranked stocks include Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ALXN - Analyst Report) carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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