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BAYER'S SHARES FALL 20% IN WAKE OF DRUG CANCELLATION AND ROUNDUP RULING
By Adria Calatayud, Dow Jones

Bayer shares fell sharply after the company stopped a late-stage study for a cardiovascular drug early due to lack of efficacy and was ordered to pay $1.56 billion in a lawsuit relating to its Roundup weedkiller.

At 0928 GMT, shares in the German pharmaceutical-and-agricultural group traded 20% lower at EUR33.15, at levels last seen in 2009.

The news underscore the challenges Bayer's two largest businesses face as the company weighs options to overhaul its corporate structure. Chief Executive Bill Anderson earlier this month said a separation of either its crop-science or consumer-health divisions are among the options the company is looking at.

Bayer said late Sunday that it discontinued a phase 3 clinical trial to test investigational drug asundexian on prevention of stroke and systemic embolism for patients with atrial fibrillation, a cardiac rhythm disorder.

In January, Bayer projected that asundexian's peak sales could top 5 billion euros ($5.46 billion), making it the biggest among what the company called key growth drivers in its pharma portfolio.

Many analysts viewed the blood-thinner treatment as a drug candidate with blockbuster potential.

Bayer's pharmaceutical division is set to face significant challenges after the failure of the trial, given that asundexian was expected to help the business return to growth following the loss of exclusivity for blood-thinning medication Xarelto and eye drug Eylea, Barclays analysts said in a research note.

Separately, Bayer was ordered to pay $1.56 billion on Friday after a Missouri court found in favor of plaintiffs who blamed its Roundup weedkiller for causing their cancers. This was the fourth decision in a row to go against the company, which had earlier achieved nine straight victories preceded by other losses over the course of a five-year legal battle.

Bayer maintains that Roundup and its main ingredient, glyphosate, is safe to use.

To read the entire report click here.


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