In 2016, Bayer and Versant Ventures joined forces to form BlueRock Therapeutics. Under the acquisition agreement, Bayer will pay $240M upfront, and a further $360M following achievement of defined development milestones. With this acquisition, Bayer cements its intentions to be a leader in the global cell therapy space.
What will Bayer gain?
BlueRock Therapeutics’ portfolio centres around the development of cellular therapies for heart failure, autoimmune graft-host disease, and several neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. Most of BlueRock Therapeutics’ therapies are in the preclinical stage, but its Parkinson’s disease cell therapy candidate is expected to enter clinical trials before the end of 2019. This would be an important step forward for BlueRock Therapeutics and Bayer, as there are an estimated 7.5 million cases of Parkinson’s disease globally, 1.3 million of which are in the US alone.
Successful clinical trials for BlueRock Therapeutics’ Parkinson’s disease cell therapy candidate will be vital in establishing Bayer as a global leader in the cell therapy space, and will allow for the cultivation of manufacturing, distribution, and approval pathways that will be necessary to pave the way for a potential heart failure cell therapy further down the road. With heart failure affecting an estimated 26 million individuals globally, an effective cell therapy to address these patients’ needs would benefit from a massive potential market across the world.