Bayer buys out US-based Asklepios BioPharmaceutical in potential $4bn deal

pharmafile | October 26, 2020 | News story | Sales and Marketing Asklepios, Bayer, acquisition, pharma 

Bayer has moved to bolster its cell and gene therapy (CGT) business through the acquisition of US biotech Asklepios BioPharmaceutical in an agreement valued at $4 billion. 

Bayer will make a payment of $2 billion upfront as part of the agreement, with an additional $2 billion available to Asklepios in developmental milestone payments, 75% of which are expected to be achieved within five years.

As part of the deal, Bayer will pick up full rights to Asklepios’ adeno-associated virus (AAV)-based gene therapy platform, as well as a portfolio of therapies to treat neuromuscular, central nervous system, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases at both clinical and pre-clinical stages. 

“Our innovation in capsid re-engineering and promoter design, coupled with our scaled manufacturing processes, gives us the tools to provide gene therapy solutions to more people suffering from a wider spectrum of disease that is not being adequately treated today,” commented Dr Richard Jude Samulski, Chief Scientific Officer and Co-Founder at Asklepios, while CEO and Co-Founder Sheila Mikhail added: “With Bayer‘s worldwide reach and translational expertise, especially in pathway diseases, our combined cultures of scientific advancement and commitment to patients, along with the retention of AskBio’s independent structure, Bayer and AskBio are positioned to provide accelerated development of gene therapies to treat more patients who can benefit from them.” 

The move builds on Bayer’s acquisition of BlueRock Therapeutics in 2019, and is the company’s largest buy-out since 2006. 

Bayer CEO/Chairman of the Board of Management, Werner Baumann, commented: “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.”

Matt Fellows

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