Log in
E-mail
Password
Remember
Forgot password ?
Become a member for free
Sign up
Sign up
New member
Sign up for FREE
New customer
Discover our services
Settings
Settings
Dynamic quotes 
OFFON

MarketScreener Homepage  >  News  >  Companies

News : Latest News
Latest NewsCompaniesMarketsEconomy & ForexCommoditiesInterest RatesBusiness LeadersFinance Pro.CalendarSectors

Bayer to acquire Asklepios Bio in foray into gene therapy worth up to $4 billion

10/26/2020 | 06:51am EST
FILE PHOTO: Logo of Bayer AG at a plant of the German pharmaceutical and chemical maker in Wuppertal

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Bayer agreed to acquire unlisted U.S. biotech firm Asklepios BioPharmaceutical Inc for as much as $4 billion in a bet on gene therapy with the help of modified viruses.

Germany's Bayer will pay $2 billion upfront and up to an additional $2 billion in milestone payments contingent on development achievements, it said on Monday.

The North Carolina-based takeover target, also known as AskBio, is trying to use the harmless adeno-associated virus as a delivery device to bring genetic repair kits against a range of diseases into the body.Drugs and farming pesticides maker Bayer needs to upgrade its drug development pipeline amid a weaker outlook for agricultural sales and as it seeks to finalise an $11 billion settlement over claims its Roundup weedkiller causes cancer.

Among AskBio's most advanced projects are early tests on volunteers of prospective treatments against Pompe disease - a rare genetic disease causing buildup of a sugar molecule inside cells - as well as against Parkinson's disease and congestive heart failure.

Bayer said the deal complements the 2019 acquisition of BlueRock Therapeutics, a developer of stem cell therapies, and underscores Bayer's intention to create a cell and gene therapy business.

AskBio, which was founded in 2001, and BlueRock will exchange information and collaborate but will each operate as independent entities, prompting a pledge from AskBio's five main owners, who are co-founders or key scientists, to remain with the firm.

"We are staying on board because of the unique structure that Bayer has provided ... We'll have the ability to make our science decisions," said Chief Executive Officer and co-founder Sheila Mikhail.

Investors TPG Capital and Vida Ventures are selling a minority stake in the company.

AskBio is also helping other companies with their gene therapy research and production and has licensed experimental drugs to external partners, which has financed much of its own drug development activities. Bayer or AskBio would not provide figures for such fee revenues.

A potential treatment of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, invented by AskBio is currently being developed in clinical trials by Pfizer and this month won fast track https://www.pfizer.com/news/press-release/press-release-detail/pfizer-receives-fda-fast-track-designation-duchenne status from U.S. regulators.

Bayer in 2018 moved to lean more strongly on external firms to improve drug development, which analysts say needs a boost to make up for an expected decline in revenues from its two pharma bestsellers from about 2024.

Credit Suisse was financial advisor while Baker McKenzie was legal counsel to Bayer. JP Morgan was financial advisor to AskBio, while Ropes & Gray was legal counsel.

(Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Frances Kerry)

By Ludwig Burger


© Reuters 2020
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
BAYER AG -1.75% 47.825 Delayed Quote.-34.32%
CREDIT SUISSE GROUP AG 0.21% 11.665 Delayed Quote.-10.99%
PFIZER, INC. 3.53% 40.8 Delayed Quote.9.91%
Latest news "Companies"
03:11aOil gains as OPEC+ resumes output cut extension talks after impasse
RE
03:11aSAS : Interim report Q4 2020
PU
03:11aCAPGEMINI : uses AI to help identify and track sperm whale population
PU
03:11aUNITED STRENGTH POWER : Monthly Return of Equity Issuer on Movements in Securities
PU
03:10aOil gains as OPEC+ resumes output cut extension talks after impasse
RE
03:10aFTSE 100 subdued on Brexit worries, lower oil prices
RE
03:10aINSIGHTS ON THE CLOUD ENCRYPTION SOFTWARE MARKET 2020-2024 : COVID-19 Industry Analysis, Market Trends, Market Growth, Opportunities and Forecast 2024 - Technavio
BU
03:09aBASF : Joint News Release - BASF and BillerudKorsnäs cooperate to develop unique home-compostable paper laminate for flexible packaging
PU
03:09aPROACTIS : University of Essex extends its Proactis solution to regain control of its invoice process
PU
03:09aIP : Artios Pharma Ltd - Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany and Artios Pharma announce a global strategic collaboration on novel DNA Damage Response targets in oncology
PU
Latest news "Companies"