Bayer Plans to Increase Life Sciences R&D

Bayer Group’s Management Board Chairman Marijn Dekkers said that the company plans to sharpen its focus on innovation in its life-science businesses, HealthCare and CropScience, with plans to increase its research and development (R&D)-to-sales ratio in the coming years. Dekkers made the comments as part of a press forum, Bayer's Perspective on Innovation, which was held in Leverkusen, Germany, on December 2. Earlier this year, Bayer announced that it intends to focus entirely on its life-sciences businesses, HealthCare and CropScience, and float its material science business on the stock market as a separate company.

Dekkers highlighted Bayer’s position in the life sciences. In 2014, Bayer’s R&D budget in its life-science businesses was EUR 3.2 billion ($3.96 billion), with Bayer HealthCare accounting for 70% and Bayer CropScience for 30%. The company has more than 13,000 employees in R&D, 61% of them in HealthCare and 39% in CropScience. In the pharmaceuticals segment, Bayer has successfully completed 25 Phase III clinical studies since 2010, and at CropScience introduced 30 new active ingredients to the market between 2000 and 2013. In 2013, Bayer applied for 500 patents in the life sciences.

Within its pharmaceutical business, Dekkers pointed to five key products, which the company estimates have combined annual peak sales potential of at least EUR 7.5 billion ($9.27 billion). These are the anticoagulant, Xarelto (rivaroxaban); the eye-care drug, Eylea (aflibercept); the anticancer drugs, Stivarga (regorafenib) and Xofigo (radium 223 dichloride); and Adempas (riociguat), a drug to treat two forms of pulmonary hypertension. The company’s pharmaceuticals pipeline contains 57 projects, of which 20 are in Phase I clinical testing, 19 in Phase II, and 18 in Phase III. Among these projects are five, new,  active ingredient candidates, which should be ready by 2015 for a decision on advancement to Phase III. Three of these projects are in the fields of cardiology and hematology, specifically treatment options for renal anemia and heart disease. Another project is oncology for treating non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and another project is in gynecology as a new treatment option for treating symptomatic uterine fibroids.

New in Phase III is an active ingredient for treating patients with prostate cancer. Bayer entered into an agreement with Orion Corporation, a pharmaceuticals company in Espoo, Finland, concerning the global development and marketing of ODM-201, an androgen receptor modulator in tablet form that is currently in clinical development.

Bayer is also advancing development of two products (BAY 81-8973 and BAY 94-9027) that contain recombinant factor VIII (rFVIII) for treating hemophilia and is investing more than EUR 500 million ($618 million) in expanded production capacities at its sites in Wuppertal and Leverkusen, Germany for these products. The company has submitted an application for marketing authorization to the European Medicines Agency for BAY 81-8973 for treating hemophilia A in children and adults. Bayer plans to file BAY 81-8973 for approval in other countries in the coming months. Its other long-acting rFVIII,  BAY 94-9027, is in Phase III clinical testing.

Dekkers also discussed the company’s position in over-the-counter products in 2014, notably recent developments this year of  its $14.2 billion acquisition of the consumer care business of Merck & Co., Inc.,and its acquisition of Dihon Pharmaceuticals in China. Dekkers pointed out that this segment for the compay has been growing more strongly than the overall market.

Source: Bayer

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