Onyx Pharmaceuticals' Shares Jumped: What You Need to Know

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Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of cancer-busting biotech Onyx Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ONXX  ) got a clean bill of health today, racing to gains as high as 17.9% on very heavy trading.

So what: In the early morning hours, Onyx partner Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals announced phase 3 trial results for colorectal treatment regorafenib. The study showed a statistically significant increase in survival rates when compared with placebo, and Bayer hopes to market the Onyx-developed drug worldwide under a royalty agreement.

Now what: Anything that puts a dent in cancer deaths is likely to become a serious blockbuster, inviting both speculators and well-informed investors to make big bucks. Onyx is actually pretty unlike anyone else in its field by not sporting a volatility-tracking beta value in nosebleed territory. Investing in fellow cancer-drug specialists Oncolytics Biotech (Nasdaq: ONCY  ) and Dendreon (Nasdaq: DNDN  ) is not recommended without a large supply of antacids and aspirin on hand -- though the gains can be astounding if the respective drugs work out as planned and you have the stomach for one heck of a roller-coaster ride.

Interested in more info about Onyx Pharmaceuticals? Add it to My Watchlist.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Dendreon. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Check out Anders' holdings and bio, or follow him on Twitter and Google+. We have a disclosure policy.

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