Life Science

Life-science powerhouse Bayer has announced a joint venture with patent-holding firm CRISPR Therapeutics AG, directed towards developing therapeutics that target blood disorders, blindness, and congenital heart disease.

Bayer will be engaging in the joint venture with over $300 million in research funding over five years. Bayer will also receive a minority stake in CRISPR Therapeutics for just $35 million. CRISPR Therapeutics will retain 50% ownership of any products developed under the venture and Bayer has the option to exclusively licence any IP that relates to CRISPR Therapeutics. Technology that’s unrelated to blood, blindness, or cardiac will be split according to the application.

This also marks as the debut of the Bayer LifeScience Center (BLSC), which is described as a “strategic innovation unit in Bayer directly reporting to Bayer’s Board of Management.” This unit will act as a technology scouting group tasked with identifying potentially useful partnerships with other companies and startups, and setting up deals and other joint ventures. The BLSC also indicates a shift towards a more proactive approach to innovation for Bayer.

On the Shoulders of Giants

The German chemical/pharmaceutical company has long been involved in therapeutic development, from originating the production of aspirin in the late 1800's to becoming a global giant with a market cap of over $100 billion. Recently, the company has been increasingly focused on biotech and life sciences.

CRISPR Therapeutics AG is represented by the licensed intellectual property of Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier, who is involved in the contentious patent dispute surrounding the discovery of CRISPR technology. CRISPR Therapeutics has also previously announced research ventures and collaborations with other pharmaceutical companies, like Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Généthon, and Celgene Corporation.

Details on which therapeutics will be developed are scarce for now, but more information is expected to be released soon. The joint venture will occur in the first quarter of 2016 and based in London.

Learn more about the CRISPR Cas9 system in this video.

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