12:00 AM
Oct 30, 2014
 |  BC Innovations  |  Strategy

Bayer's Bay Area formula

Less than four years after setting up shop near the University of California, San Francisco's Mission Bay campus, Bayer AG is calling both its U.S. Innovation Center and CoLaborator incubator there successes and expanding the model to Berlin. The winning formula, it says, comes from creating direct alliances with academics and startups and not in ponying up buckets of money.

Compared with several other pharmas-including Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer Inc. and Merck & Co. Inc., which have all pledged between $17 million and $247 million each in their external innovation strategies1-3-Bayer is tiptoeing into the realm of academic innovation with few dollars down and a strategy built around collaborative relationships with researchers and startups.

The roots of Bayer's U.S. Innovation Center go back to the pharma's 2006 acquisition of Schering AG's research facility in Richmond, Calif. In 2011, Bayer downsized the Richmond group to a 65-member research team and moved it to smaller facilities in Mission Bay. Shortly after the relocation, Bayerestablished ties with UCSF through a master contract that nails down the key issues of IP and publication.

Christopher Haskell, head of Bayer's U.S. Science Hub, told SciBX that under the agreement the IP is owned by whichever side creates it. UCSF researchers with relationships to Bayer can work on the company's proprietary compounds but are required to get consent before publishing. However, the academics also have access to Bayer's tool compounds from the pharma's drug discovery programs...

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