Bayer has announced the acquisition of US-headquartered cell and gene therapy specialist Asklepios BioPharmaceutical (AskBio) in a deal worth $4bn.
Under the deal, AskBio will get an upfront payment of $2bn from Bayer and is eligible for success-based milestone payments of up to $2bn.
Approximately 75% of the milestone payments will be paid in a course of five years and the remaining amount subsequently.
Even after the acquisition, AskBio will operate as an independent company.
AskBio’s development portfolio comprises investigational pre-clinical and clinical-stage candidates for treating neuromuscular, central nervous system, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.
The deal will strengthen Bayer’s emerging cell and gene therapy (CGT) platform with the potential to bring treatments to diseases with high unmet need.
Bayer Board of Management (CEO) chairman Werner Baumann said: “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.”
On acquisition completion, Bayer will have full rights to AskBio’s gene therapy platform which consists of a broad intellectual property portfolio and an established contract development and manufacturing organisation (CDMO).
Bayer will add an adeno-associated virus (AAV)-based gene therapy platform to its portfolio, which already showed applicability in various treatment areas.
AskBio’s gene therapy platform includes a cell line manufacturing process and an extensive AAV capsid and promoter library.
Asklepios BioPharmaceutical chief scientific officer and co-founder Dr Richard Samulski said: “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.”
On meeting customary closing conditions including obtaining required regulatory approvals, the closing of the transaction is expected by the fourth quarter of this year.
This year has already witnessed a handful of memorable FDA approvals. But the race isn’t over yet. Looking to close out 2021 with FDA approvals stand four potential blockbusters from the likes of Argenx, UCB, Pfizer and Roche, according to Evaluate Pharma. Those meds combined are worth roughly $7.1 billion in sales cumulatively by 2026, according to Evaluate’s estimates.
Getting started is often the most difficult part—and that’s especially true in rare diseases and diagnoses. Patients and families often spend many years searching for their diagnosis starting point. For Horizon Therapeutics’ first innovation challenge, it took that struggle to heart and asked for technology-based rare disease solutions that result in faster or more accurate diagnoses.
Researchers from the Quadram Institute and the University of East Anglia (UEA) discovered that treating mice with broad-spectrum antibiotics increased the rate at which their breast cancer tumours grew.