Onyx Pharmaceuticals, a biotech firm based in the Bay Area, partnered with Bayer AG to produce a new generation of cancer-fighting compounds. One of the compounds that Onyx and Bayer jointly developed, sorafenib (marketed as Nexavar®), became a successful drug for treating liver and kidney cancer and was showing promising results for certain colorectal and breast cancers. In 2003, Bayer synthesized and began marketing a compound that was virtually identical to the the shared compound sorafenib. Onyx claimed the new compound, regorafenib, was identified in the collaboration period, and that Bayer’s actions violated the contract and competed directly with the jointly owned Nexavar® for research funding and market share.

The Focal Point’s Role

The Focal Point worked closely with the Cooley team, on behalf of Onyx, to develop a visual strategy to teach the jury the science of cutting-edge molecular cancer therapies, as well the terms and elements of the contract between the two companies. Key graphics and animations showed how the compound in question, regorafenib, was identified in the collaboration period and varied from the jointly marketed compound sorafenib by a single atom. Our trial presentation expert set up and ran the display equipment at trial, consulting with the trial team on effective presentation methods, and rehearsing presentations. At the same time, our case managers and graphic designers designed and changed demonstratives in the war room in response to the dynamic priorities of trial.


After Onyx’s case-in-chief, Bayer AG agreed to settle the dispute. Under the terms of the agreement, Onyx will receive 20% of worldwide royalties for future net sales of regorafenib use in oncology, and $160 million for the Japanese royalty rights for Nexavar®, with potential additional payments of up to $15 million.


United States District Court for the Northern District of California (San Francisco, CA)
Judge Edward M. Chen

The Focal Point’s Client

CooleyStephen Neal
Martin Schenker
Michelle Rhyu
Jeffrey Karr
Daniel Knauss
Benjamin Kleine
Bryan Boyle