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Bayer puts research at heart of business growth

Says R&D-to-sales ratio will increase
Bayer puts research at heart of business growth

Bayer announced yesterday its commitment to research, with chairman Dr Marijn Dekkers predicting the R&D-to-sales ratio to grow over the next few years.

Speaking at the company's Perspective on Innovation 2014 event in its home city of Leverkusen, Dekkers said the company invested €3.2bn in its R&D budget for life science in 2013 split between its Bayer HealthCare division (70%) and its CropScience division (30%).

This money is helping to investigate a pipeline of 57 pharmaceutical projects, including 18 in phase III testing.

This group of phase III candidates will be joined by five new compounds in 2015, according to Bayer, including three in the fields of cardiology and haematology: molidustat for anaemia and finerenone and vericiguat for heart failure.

The other two drugs touted to advance to phase III are copanlisib for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and vilaprisan to treat symptomatic uterine fibroids – begin tumours that form in the uterus.

“All these active ingredient candidates have one thing in common: they are developed from new molecules with a specific active profile,” said Dekkers.

Bayer chair Marijn Dekkers 

Bayer's chair Marijn Dekkers

Bayer has had success with its pipeline in recent years with five new products – including oral anticoagulant Xarelto (rivaroxaban) and eye drug Eylea (aflibercept) – set to have peak combined sales of at least €7.5bn.

“The success of our recent product introductions has created great growth momentum for us,” said Dekkers.

The company has several phase III products nearing launch, the most advanced of which is haemophilia candidate BAY 81-8973, which Bayer plans to file for approval this month. To cope with expected demand for the product the company plans to invest over €500m to expand production capacities at its sites in Wuppertal and Leverkusen in Germany.

Other potential new products on the horizon include oncology candidate ODM-201, which Bayer gained the rights to when it acquired Orion Corporation.

Consumer health ambitions

In addition to its plans for its pharmaceutical business Bayer intends to become a leader in consumer health, with the company claiming it is ranked number two in the world for over-the-counter (OTC) products.

This area has been boosted over the past year with the acquisition of Merck & Co's consumer health division and the takeover of China-based Dihon Pharmaceutical.

Bayer has prioritised its HealthCare and CropScience divisions after announcing in September it intends to spin out its MaterialScience business as a separate company by 2016.

Article by
Thomas Meek

3rd December 2014

From: Research, Sales

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