Bayer and CRISPR Therapeutics join forces for breakthrough therapies

Posted: 21 December 2015 | Victoria White | No comments yet

Bayer and CRISPR Therapeutics are to form the joint venture to discover, develop and commercialise new breakthrough therapeutics to cure blood disorders, blindness, and congenital heart disease…

Bayer and CRISPR Therapeutics are to form a joint venture to discover, develop and commercialise new breakthrough therapeutics to cure blood disorders, blindness, and congenital heart disease.

CRISPR Therapeutics will contribute its proprietary CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology and intellectual property, while Bayer will make available its protein engineering expertise and relevant disease know-how. It is the first long-term strategic partnership of its kind to make a substantial investment in the development of target delivery systems in an effort to bring systemic in vivo CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology applications to patients.

Bayer will provide a minimum of USD 300 million in R&D investments to the joint venture over the next five years. In addition, Bayer will acquire a minority stake in CRISPR Therapeutics for USD 35 million in cash. The joint venture will be led by Dr Axel Bouchon, Head of the  Bayer LifeScience Centre (BLSC), on an interim basis as CEO, while Dr Rodger Novak, CEO and co-founder of CRISPR Therapeutics, will serve as the interim chairman of the Board.

“The joint venture and the Bayer investment are game-changing for our business,” said Rodger Novak. “We keep a 50 percent ownership in the high-risk, high-reward areas of blood disorders, blindness, and congenital heart diseases, but also retain full access to target delivery technologies and IP development by the joint venture, which we intend to fully leverage in support of CRISPR Therapeutics’ wholly owned core strategic disease areas.”

Joint venture “promises to have a major impact”

Through the joint venture, Bayer may secure exclusive rights to use CRISPR Therapeutics’ and the joint venture’s proprietary CRISPR-Cas9 technology and intellectual property in the three targeted disease areas, including blood disorders, blindness and congenital heart diseases. CRISPR Therapeutics may gain exclusive access to Bayer’s protein engineering know how for use in Crispr products as well as Bayer’s extensive expertise and knowledge in the three targeted disease areas. Newly created know-how from the collaboration around the CRISPR-Cas9 system beyond the three disease areas, will be exclusively made available to CRISPR Therapeutics for human-use. All technology development and future IP developed by the joint venture will also be exclusively available to the parent companies Bayer and CRISPR Therapeutics.

Axel Bouchon said: “We are very impressed by the scientific team of CRISPR Therapeutics as they have built the most promising gene-editing technology on the market. This is perfectly suited to fully leverage Bayer´s expertise in protein engineering and knowledge in the targeted disease areas of this joint venture. It´s really exciting to combine the forces of our leading technologies, scientific excellence and intellectual property. It promises to have a major impact on patients with serious genetic diseases and also for our businesses.”

The soon to be named joint venture will be based in London, UK, with operations in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Related conditions