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Bayer buys chemoproteomics start-up Vividion for up to $2bn

Bayer’s third big biotech purchase in two years may open up ‘undruggable targets’

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Bayer has announced a deal to buy Californian biopharmaceutical company Vividion Therapeutics for $1.5bn in cash and another $500m in success-based milestone payments.

The deal is the third big-ticket purchase by pharmaceuticals division head, Stefan Oelrich, following the $1bn he paid to cell therapies company BlueRock in 2019 and the $4bn acquisition of gene therapy pioneer Asklepios BioPharmaceutical (AskBio) in 2020.

Through the Vividion acquisition, Bayer hopes to “gain access to a cutting-edge chemoproteomics platform that is able to identify previously unknown binding pockets in undruggable targets to generate first-in-class novel compounds in indications of high unmet medical need”.

Chemoproteomics is the interaction between small molecule compounds and proteins in biological systems.

The company’s technology has already proven its applicability pre-clinically in oncology and immune-related diseases, and has the potential to expand into additional therapeutic areas, said the company, which announced the acquisition at the same time as its Q2 financial results.

The quarter to June saw Bayer’s sales rise 12.9% across all divisions to €10.9bn, with healthcare revenues rising to €4.5bn, up 12.6% compared with the same period last year.

As with its previous acquisitions, Vividion – which was founded two years ago by a group of scientists including professor for molecular medicine at Scripps Research, Benjamin Cravatt – will act independently in a “a true arms-length relationship”, said Vividion CEO Jeff Hatfield. He describes the deal as “a best-of-both-worlds kind” that allows an entrepreneurial culture to flourish and brings in the strength of a global corporate entity.

Vividion has experience of working with pharma companies; in 2018, Celgene (now Bristol Myers Squibb) handed over $95m for a research deal, while Roche paid $135m last year for preclinical work targeting oncology and immunology targets.

Vividion is working on new treatments against cancer as well as inflammatory diseases including irritable bowel disease, said Bayer’s Oelrich. “We [often] know there’s a mechanism that causes a disease, but we have no way to attach a drug to that biological mechanism [to treat it]. The promise of this new technology is that you can now go into spaces where we could not go before.”

Article by
Hugh Gosling

9th August 2021

From: Healthcare



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