European officials have given the green signal for Bayer AG and its partner Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc., for marketing their new drug to treat kidney cancer.
The opinion of the European Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of the drug Nexavar would now be passed onto the European Commission.
A positive ruling by the commission could pave the way for a marketing authorisation for all EU nations in the second half of this year.
The announcement coincided with Bayer's annual general meeting in Cologne, where the group's chief Werner Wenning sought to secure shareholders' support for the planned 16.5 billion euros ($21 billion) takeover of rival pharmaceuticals firm Schering AG.
Describing the proposed acquisition as a milestone in the company's history, Wenning said that this move was the "right step" for the group.
The takeover, Wenning said, would propel Bayer into "the top league of pharmaceutical makers around the world".
Wenning went on to tell the company's shareholders that the acquisition would result in the health services section emerging as the key engine for growth.
Bayer's 86-euro a share offer for Berlin based Schering runs until the end of May with the takeover representing the biggest acquisition in Bayer's corporate history.