Bayer bolsters its drug discovery capabilities through the acquisition of Vividion, which it says will benefit from an arm’s length approach.

Millie Nelson, Editor

August 5, 2021

2 Min Read
Bayer buys Vividion for $1.5bn in ‘arm’s length acquisition’
Image: iStock/mikdam

Bayer bolsters its drug discovery capabilities through the acquisition of Vividion, which it says will benefit from an arm’s length business model.

The deal – which could be worth up to $2 billion – strengthens Bayer’s small molecule oncology and immunology targets through the addition of Vividion Therapeutics’ chemoproteomic technology.

According to German pharma giant Bayer, the platform can recognize unidentified binding pockets on protein targets by screening chemical probes against the human proteome to establish selectivity.


Image: iStock/mikdam

The platform is comprised of three integrated components, such as chemoproteomic screening technology, an integrated data portal, and a chemistry library.

“[Vividion] is currently focused on oncology and immunology, which is already an incredibly broad space, [but the] platform technology can be deployed to any therapeutic area so, it holds incredible potential,” Marianne De Backer, executive vice president and head of Strategy and BD&L at Bayer told BioProcess Insider.

She added: “We really see it as a sort of IND engine [and] we expect that out of this platform, we will have a number of IND’s that will be delivered on a yearly basis over time.”

Vividion’s lead programs include various precision oncology and immunology targets, including ongoing efforts on a nuclear factor-erythroid factor 2 (NRF2) antagonist, which aims to treat mutant cancers and NRF2 activators for different inflammatory diseases.

Collaboration vs control

This is Bayer’s third acquisition where it has adopted an arm’s length approach. The firm bought allogeneic cell therapy developer BlueRock Therapeutics for $240 million in October 2019 and just one year after, acquired AskBio for $2 billion.

“This is the third time that we that we have deployed this model where we acquire a company [and] really keep it at arm’s length. We govern it through a board,” De Backer told us.

“[Vividion’s] 125 employees will continue to be with Vividion, and they will keep their identity, they will keep their email addresses [meaning] the identity and culture are really preserved.”

Vividion’s CEO Jeff Hatfield echoed De Backer’s comments, telling this publication that through an arm’s length approach the firm will “have the ability to preserve the very nimble entrepreneurial culture that has grown within this company.”

He continued: “The dogma in our industry is that when you acquire a company, you have to control it and by nature of that control it creates a counter force to the innovation, the spirit of entrepreneurship that exists in these small companies.”

The deal is expected to close in Q3 2021 but is subject to closing conditions, which includes receipt of the required regulatory approvals.

About the Author(s)

Millie Nelson

Editor, BioProcess Insider

Journalist covering global biopharmaceutical manufacturing and processing news and host of the Voices of Biotech podcast.

I am currently living and working in London but I grew up in Lincolnshire (UK) and studied in Newcastle (UK).

Got a story? Feel free to email me at [email protected]

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