Originally, aspirin might have come from a bitter-tasting extract of the willow tree — but since 1899, it’s come from the German pharmaceutical and chemical company Bayer (BAYRY). That kind of household-name status is hard to beat, but the company has kept on developing drugs, including the wildly successful blood thinner Xarelto.

STAT caught up with Dr. Joerg Moeller, Bayer’s head of global research and development for pharmaceuticals, when he was in Boston to help set up a new lung-disease research collaboration with Brigham and Women’s and Massachusetts General hospitals. This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

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