Bayer to Acquire a Lead Position in America's Gene Therapy Space
The world's largest pharmaceuticals and chemicals conglomerate took another big step into the gene therapy arena on Monday. Bayer (OTC: BAYRY) has agreed to acquire Asklepios BioPharmaceutical, a privately held U.S. company more commonly known as AskBio.
Bayer will pay $2 billion in cash upfront for AskBio plus up to $2 billion in success-dependent milestone payments. This deal gives Bayer access to gene therapy candidates in early clinical-stage trials for Pompe disease, Parkinson's disease, and congestive heart failure.
Image source: Getty Images.
AskBio develops and markets adeno-associated viruses (AAV) that deliver genetic blueprints drawn up by drug developers trying to make new gene therapies. Once the deal is complete, Bayer could leverage its new AAV library to build relationships with gene therapy developers heavy on innovative new drug candidates but light on resources to develop them. For example, Axovant Gene Therapies recently signed a deal with an AskBio venture to support all aspects of manufacturing Axovant's gene therapy programs.
The transaction's expected to close before the end of the year and give Bayer AAV manufacturing facilities and a company headquarters in North Carolina's Research Triangle. The acquisition of AskBio will also give Bayer a revenue-generating contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO). Bayer intends to operate AskBio at arm's length as an independent company.
In 2016, Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) acquired an AskBio subsidiary, Bamboo Therapeutics, for access to SRP-9001, a gene therapy candidate for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). In May, Pfizer reported impressive efficacy results for SRP-9001, but safety concerns associated with the AAV that Pfizer acquired from AskBio poured water on the celebration.
10 stocks we like better than Bayer AG (ADR)
When investing geniuses David and Tom Gardner have a stock tip, it can pay to listen. After all, the newsletter they have run for over a decade, Motley Fool Stock Advisor, has tripled the market.*
David and Tom just revealed what they believe are the ten best stocks for investors to buy right now... and Bayer AG (ADR) wasn't one of them! That's right -- they think these 10 stocks are even better buys.
*Stock Advisor returns as of October 20, 2020
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.