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Originally published on MarketWatch by Adria Calatayud


Bayer shares fell sharply after the company stopped a late-stage study for acardiovascular drug early due to lack of efficacy and was ordered to pay $1.56 billion in alawsuit 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 companyweighs 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 as undexian’s peak sales could top 5 billion euros ($5.46billion), making it the biggest among what the company called key growth drivers in its pharma portfolio.

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

The decision to stop the trial was based on a recommendation by the independent datamonitoring committee of the study after asundexian showed inferior efficacy relative toapixaban, which was the control arm of the trial, Bayer said.

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.

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