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Bayer invests in U.S. growth to get it through its big transitions

April 5, 2016
Life sciences

Plenty of Bayer’s peers are focusing their expansion efforts outside the U.S., on emerging markets with more growth potential. But not the German pharma.

Instead, it’s working to boost its presence and brand in the U.S., beefing up operations in areas from marketing to research in what global innovation chief Kemal Malik recently told the AP was the “most important country for Bayer.”

“I hope that over the next few years, people will learn that Bayer is more than aspirin,” Phil Blake, Bayer’s U.S. president and head of pharmaceuticals for the Americas, told the news service.

So how, exactly, does the drugmaker intend to teach them? For starters, it’s throwing more weight behind its consumer health marketing and social media efforts. These days, the company is fielding more TV ads, offering up discount coupons online and in newspapers, and stamping its logo on all of its products. It’s also doubled the size of its social media staff, ventured into Instagram, added U.S. content to its Facebook page and revved up the engine on its Twitter posts. And it’s in the process of creating consumer products specifically for the U.S. market, too–such as immune supplement TruBiotics and Aleve PM, the AP notes.

It’s padding its stateside research efforts, too, inking recent collaboration deals with U.S.-based partners like Johns Hopkins University and Massachusetts’ CRISPR Therapeutics. It also backs a San Francisco incubator that houses biotech startups.

Bayer is hoping all of these investments can help it successfully navigate it through a couple of big transitions. For starters, it recently decided to focus on life sciences, and last year’s divestment of its plastics unit furthered that goal. The company is also getting ready to welcome a new CEO, with current skipper Marijn Dekkers set to depart on May 1–and new chief Werner Baumann ready to take his place.

So far, Bayer’s new moves seem to be paying off. Last year, company’s sales shot up 28% to about $14 billion in the U.S. and Canada; sales for Bayer’s OTC unit, a big focus after the company’s blockbuster acquisition of Merck’s consumer health unit in 2014, climbed 66% in those countries, while pharma sales vaulted 23%.

By Carly Helfand

Source: Fierce Pharma

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