© Josefkubes | Dreamstime.com
Bayer Logo Josefkubes Dreamstime 5f96fe6cae7b9

Bayer Purchases North Carolina Gene-Therapy Company Asklepios for $4 Billion

Oct. 26, 2020
The German pharmaceutical company is looking towards expanding its reach in gene therapy.

Bayer AG announced October 26 it agreed to purchase Asklepios Biopharmaceutical, a gene therapy company also known as AskBio, for $2 billion upfront and potentially $2 billion more in ongoing payments. As part of the deal, Bayer will own full rights to AskBio’s gene therapy process and will keep the business operating on a mostly independent basis.

According to Bayer CEO Werner Baumann, the acquisition of AskBio will advance Bayer’s work in gene therapy. AskBio’s portfolio includes an integrated gene therapy platform, over 500 gene therapy patents, and more than 350,000 square feet of lab, research, and scaled in-house manufacturing for adeno-associated viruses. Adeno-associated viruses, or AAV, are special viruses designed by bioengineers to deliver therapeutic genes to a patients’ body.

Bayer, in a statement, noted that the gene therapy platform

AskBio CEO Shiela Mikhail praised Bayer as a global company that would be able to expand the development of gene therapies. In a statement, she said, “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."

AskBio was founded in 2001 by Mikhail and Dr. Jude Samulsky, who was the first to demonstrate that AAVs could be cloned for therapeutic purposes.

“In line with our purpose ‘science for a better life’, we are committed to bringing significant improvements for patients through innovation,” said Baumann. “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,” said Oelrich.

The deal is expected to close sometime during the fourth quarter of 2020.

Sponsored Recommendations

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of IndustryWeek, create an account today!