A Swiss company's decision to drop its cancer programs will help Bayer beef up its oncology pipeline. Bayer has agreed to buy Nycomed's preclinical cancer therapies in a deal worth up to €52 million.

The deal covers two preclinical drug candidates and back-up therapeutics that target a kinase involved in the growth of cancer cells. Bayer Schering Pharma assumes full development and marketing rights.

Bayer discovery chief Andreas Busch says that the acquisition is complementary to the pharma company's oncology work. Bayer's Nexavar is a kinase inhibitor that helps prevent the growth of new blood vessels that feed tumors.

Nycomed announced earlier this year that it was getting out of the cancer arena to focus on other programs. 4SC bought eight of its oncology programs in June.