Bayer to pick up AskBio

Bayer has agreed to buy US-based biopharmaceutical company Aklepios BioPharmaceutical (AskBio) for USD 4.00 billion.

The consideration includes an upfront sum of USD 2.00 billion, as well as an earnout of USD 2.00 billion, dependent on certain milestones being achieved by the target.

Subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, the transaction is slated to complete during the fourth quarter of 2020.

Headquartered in North Carolina, AskBio focuses on the research, development and manufacturing of gene therapies across several therapeutic areas, including neuromuscular, central nervous system and cardiovascular conditions.

The group’s pipeline includes investigational pre-clinical and clinical stage candidates for the treatment of Huntington’s disease, Angelman syndrome and methylmalonic acidemia, among other disorders.

Following the transaction, Bayer will own the full rights to AskBio’s gene therapy platform, as well as its intellectual property and contract and manufacturing organisation.

The target will continue to operate as an independent company on an arm’s-length basis.

Stefan Oelrich, president of the buyer’s pharmaceutical division, said: “As part of our strategy, we are building new therapeutic platforms including cell and gene therapies.

“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.”

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Bayer will also gain access to the target’s lead research programmes, which are currently in the early phases of clinical development and focus on conditions such as Pompe disease, Parkinson’s disease and congestive heart failure.

The purchaser is no stranger to the acquisition trail; in August last year, it bought the remaining 52.9 per cent stake it did not already own in US-based BlueRock Therapeutics for USD 600.00 million.

During the six months ended 30th June 2020, Bayer generated sales of EUR 22.90 billion, down 56.1 per cent from USD 10.05 billion in the corresponding period of 2019.

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