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In a bid to quickly broaden its drug discovery abilities, Bayer (BAYRY) has reached a deal to acquire Vividion Therapeutics for $1.5 billion, the third time in two years the company has bought a small biotech with proprietary technology for uncovering medicines.

Unlike the two earlier acquisitions, which gave Bayer entree to potential gene and cell therapies, the focus of this latest acquisition is primarily on oncology and immunology, although that can be expanded to other therapeutic areas. Vividion developed a platform for chemoproteomics, which is an approach to understanding interactions between small molecule compounds and proteins in biological systems.

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“This allows you to hit targets that were deemed ‘undruggable,’ ” explained Marianne De Backer, a Bayer executive vice president who heads strategy and business development. “In 90% of the cases, it’s too difficult because there are no binding properties. This is incredibly valuable because it gives us a platform that, on a yearly basis, allows us to generate INDs,” or investigational new drug applications that can be filed with the Food and Drug Administration.

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