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Onyx says multiple parties engaged in takeover talks

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) - Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc said on Thursday that its process of seeking a buyer for the company is "ongoing with multiple parties engaged."

The cancer drugmaker had previously rejected an unsolicited takeover offer from Amgen Inc of $120 per share as being too low, and instead launched a process to sell itself.

Reuters, citing three people familiar with the process, reported on Wednesday that Amgen was in advanced discussions to buy Onyx for $130 per share, or nearly $9.5 billion based on shares outstanding, with the two sides working toward a possible announcement as soon as within the next week.

Onyx has indicated that it would support a transaction at that price, the people said.

A few other drugmakers including AstraZeneca Plc have also evaluated a deal in recent weeks but it was unclear if a rival bid would emerge, one of the people said. Amgen and AstraZeneca representatives on Wednesday declined to comment.

On a conference call with analysts, Onyx Chief Executive Anthony Coles said multiple parties were still involved in the process, adding that the outcome and timetable of the sale process was dependent on a review by the Onyx board of directors.

Onyx also reported a smaller-than-expected second quarter loss as revenue more than doubled on sales of cancer drugs, including its new multiple myeloma treatment Kyprolis.

The biotechnology company said it had a net loss of $53.2 million, or 73 cents per share, half the loss of $106 million, or $1.65 per share, a year ago.

Excluding one-time items, Onyx lost 40 cents per share. Analysts on average had expected a loss of 42 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue for the quarter rose to $153 million from $72.7 million in the year ago period, edging past Wall Street estimates of $151.7 million.

Kyprolis had sales of $61 million for the quarter. That excludes an additional $10 million in deferred revenue for Kyprolis purchased by distributors that had not yet shipped to doctors' offices or hospitals, the company said.

Onyx also said plans were in place for a Kyprolis launch in Europe in the second half of 2014.

Onyx recorded $81.8 million in sales of Nexavar, the liver and kidney cancer drug it shares with German drugmaker Bayer AG, up from $72.7 million in the year ago quarter.

The company also received $10.2 million in royalty revenue from Bayer on its new colon cancer drug Stivarga.

In late June, Onyx had spurned a $120 per share takeover offer from Amgen and announced that it was seeking other bids for the company. Amgen, the world's largest biotechnology company, is still widely considered to be the front-runner to acquire Onyx.

Onyx shares rose more than 1 percent to $128.76 in extended trading from a Nasdaq close at $127.42.

(Editing by Gary Hill, Carol Bishopric and Bob Burgdorfer)