Bayer Tumbles Despite Possible Settlement

Bayer AG's (OTC: BAYRY) shares fell early Friday in New York on rumors of possible settlements with tens of thousands of plaintiffs in its Roundup cancer case.

Bayer is set to face its fourth jury trial in St. Louis on Friday in the case to determine whether glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, can cause cancer.

The number of lawsuits against Bayer could increased to 85,000, the lead mediator in the case, Ken Feinberg told Bloomberg, as Bayer appeals the decision of the previous three juries that found it guilty.

The $10-billion amount set aside isn't fixed, Bloomberg noted, and could change depending upon how the talks with the petitioners go. Analyst expectations for the settlement have varied from as little as $4.5 billion to up to $12 billion.

The market would prefer for the German company to settle, Reuters noted, as "it would get rid of the problem in one go."

Bayer is in need of good tidings; last week, health-care watchdogs in both England and Germany officially rejected Bayer's new cancer drug, Vitraki. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), a top English health regulator, announced last Friday it couldn't recommend the drug at its current price tag and said it simply isn't cost-efficient.

Germany's top drug assessment group, IQWiG, also rejected the drug, citing insufficient data. Although Bayer's drug has shown encouraging results so far, IQWiG rejected the drug because clinical trials didn't have a comparison group of people who didn't take Vitraki.

Shares dropped 70 cents, or 3.3%, to $20.88