Bayer broadens cell & gene therapy innovation base with $4bn acquisition

Bayer is broadening its innovation base in cell and gene therapy with the acquisition of US biopharma Asklepios BioPharmaceutical (AskBio) for up to $4 billion.

AskBio’s development portfolio includes investigational pre-clinical and clinical stage candidates for the treatment of neuromuscular, central nervous system, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

Bayer will own full rights to AskBio’s gene therapy platform, including a broad intellectual property portfolio and an established contract development and manufacturing organisation (CDMO) laying the foundation for future partnerships in the area of adeno-associated virus (AAV) therapies.

The addition of AskBio to Bayer’s emerging cell and gene therapy (CGT) business strengthens Bayer’s commitment to the field. It complements the 2019 acquisition of BlueRock Therapeutics and consolidates Bayer’s ambition to create platforms with the potential to have an impact in multiple therapeutic areas.

Bayer will pay an upfront consideration of $2 billion and potential success-based milestone payments of up to $2 billion. Some 75% of the potential success-based milestone payments are expected to be due during the course of the next five years and the remaining amount late thereafter.

“In line with our purpose ‘science for a better life’, we are committed to bringing significant improvements for patients through innovation,” said Werner Baumann, Chairman of the Board of Management (CEO) of Bayer.

“With this acquisition, Bayer significantly advances the establishment of a cell and gene therapy platform that can be at the forefront of breakthrough science, contributing to preventing or even curing diseases caused by gene defects and further driving company growth in the future.”

Closing of the transaction is contingent on customary closing conditions and is expected to take place during the fourth quarter of 2020.

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