Bayer AG reported the acquisition of Asklepios BioPharmaceutical, Inc. to broaden innovation base in 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 which include a broad intellectual property portfolio and an established contract development and manufacturing organization to pave the way for future partnerships in adeno-associated virus therapies.
Bayer will pay an initial payment of USD 2 Billion and pending success on certain milestones the company will pay up to an additional USD 2 Billion. 75% of the potential success-based milestones are expected during 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 AG. “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.”
“As part of our strategy, we are building new therapeutic platforms including cell and gene therapies,” said Stefan Oelrich, Member of the Board of Management, Bayer AG and President of the Bayer’s Pharmaceuticals Division. “As an emerging leader in the rapidly advancing field of gene therapies, the expertise and portfolio of AskBio supports us in establishing highly innovative treatment options for patients and further strengthens our portfolio. We want to help patients whose medical needs are not yet met by today’s treatment options and we are looking forward to work together with the team at AskBio.”
“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,” said Dr. Richard Jude Samulski, Chief Scientific Officer and Co-Founder of AskBio. “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,” said Sheila Mikhail, CEO and Co-Founder of AskBio.
The close of the transaction is contingent on custom conditions which include receipt of the required regulatory approvals which is expected to take place during the fourth quarter of 2020.