Bayer Acquires BlueRock Therapeutics, Boosts Cell Therapy Stake

August 9, 2019
Pharmaceutical Technology Editors

The acquisition will boost Bayer’s cell-therapy development programs, with an initial focus on neurology, cardiology, and immunology.

On Aug. 8, 2019, Bayer and BlueRock Therapeutics announced an agreement under which Bayer will fully acquire BlueRock Therapeutics, a privately held US-headquartered biotechnology company, for $600 million. Bayer currently holds a 40.8% stake in BlueRock Therapeutics, which, with the acquisition price, lends BlueRock a total company value of approximately $1 billion. The transaction is expected to close during the third quarter of 2019.

Under the agreement, Bayer will acquire the remaining stake in BlueRock Therapeutics with an upfront cash payment of approximately $240 million to be paid at closing and an additional $360 million payable upon achievement of pre-defined development milestones. Bayer had formed BlueRock Therapeutics through a 2016 joint venture with Versant Ventures, a healthcare investment firm. BlueRock Therapeutics will continue to operate as an independent company operating on an arm’s-length basis, according to Bayer.

BlueRock Therapeutics focuses on developing engineered cell therapies in the fields of neurology, cardiology, and immunology, using a proprietary induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) platform.

“This acquisition marks a major milestone on our path towards a leading position in cell therapy,” said Stefan Oelrich, member of the board of management, Bayer, and president of Bayer’s Pharmaceuticals Division, in a company press release. “In line with our strategy to ramp up our investments in technologies with breakthrough innovation potential, we have decided to build our cell therapy pipeline based on BlueRock Therapeutics’ industry-leading iPSC platform. Ultimately, we are joining forces to deliver new treatment options for medical needs that are still unmet today.”

“We are extremely excited to be part of the world-class Bayer organization,” said Emile Nuwaysir, PhD, CEO, BlueRock Therapeutics, in the press release. “We have built a premier cell therapy platform at BlueRock Therapeutics, with industry-leading R&D, process development, and manufacturing capabilities. With the expertise and support of Bayer, we will be even better positioned to pursue the discovery, development, and commercialization of revolutionary new cell therapies for patients suffering from diseases previously thought of as intractable.”

BlueRock Therapeutics’ portfolio of cell therapies is currently focused on neurology, cardiology, and immunology with a lead program in Parkinson’s disease expected to enter the clinic by the end of 2019. The transaction will give Bayer full rights to the company’s CELL+GENE platform, including a broad intellectual property portfolio and associated technology platform. BlueRock Therapeutics’ technology platform includes its proprietary iPSC technology, gene engineering, and cell differentiation capabilities.

Source: Bayer