Bayer buys stem cell therapy developer BlueRock in $600 million deal

The German drugmaker has placed a big bet on stem cell therapy with its recent acquisition of BlueRock Therapies as it looks to strengthen development pipeline.

Bayer has acquired BlueRock Therapeutics in a deal valued at $600 million (£494.4 million) that will give it a platform to research and develop new stem cell therapies.

‘This acquisition marks a major milestone on our path towards a leading position in cell therapy,’ President of Bayer’s Pharmaceuticals Division Stefan Oelrich said.

Bayer’s share price climbed more than 6% on Thursday following the deal announcement.

Bayer deal values BlueRock at $1 billion

The German drugmaker helped setup Bluerock as part of a joint venture with Versant Ventures three years ago, with Bayer buying up the remaining 59.2% stake to take full control of the stem cell therapy developer.

Bayer will acquire the remaining stake for approximately USD 240 million in cash to be paid upfront at closing and an additional USD 360 million payable upon achievement of pre-defined development milestones.

With Bayer currently holding 40.8 percent stake, the investment corresponds to a total company value of BlueRock Therapeutics of approximately USD 1 billion. The deal, subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close in the third quarter of 2019.

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Bayer bets big on stem cell therapies

The deal represents a major investment from the German drugmaker into a promising new medical area, with stem cell therapies showing significant clinical benefit, particularly in diseases previously deemed intractable.

BlackRock specialises in induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC), which effectively reprogram mature cells to behave like stem cells which can be injected and restore diseased tissue in patients.

‘We have built a premier cell therapy platform at BlueRock Therapeutics, with industry-leading R&D, process development and manufacturing capabilities,’ BlueRock Therapeutics CEO Emile Nuwaysir said.

‘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.’


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