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Deals

How Bayer is building a cell and gene therapy business through deals

Bayer’s evolving BD strategy to catch up in cell and gene therapies

Bayer charts an evolving BD strategy to catch up in cell and gene therapies.

Mar 6, 2021 | 1:48 AM GMT

After spending the last year laying the groundwork for its entrance into cell and gene therapies through dealmaking, Bayer is expanding its external innovation search to new indications and earlier-stage programs and technologies to build off that foundation.

Bayer AG (Xetra:BAYN) signed over 25 deals last year — a major ramp-up from previous years — spanning research collaborations to acquisitions, as well as equity investments through its Leaps by Bayer corporate venture arm.

Many of the transactions fell in the pharma’s core therapeutic areas of cancer, women’s health, cardiovascular and kidney diseases, but cell and gene therapies were the major strategic focus, Marianne De Backer, head of pharmaceutical development and licensing, told BioCentury.

Bayer has been a small molecule-focused biopharma company for decades, even as the industry has moved on to new modalities that can address a broader set of diseases and targets. Bayer’s business development expansion is part of its plan to catch up.

“Bayer had been focusing on small molecules as a modality, but they fall short in addressing a number of diseases including monogenic diseases and multifactorial diseases.

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