German pharmaceutical and life sciences company Bayer has agreed to acquire US-based clinical-stage gene therapy company Asklepios BioPharmaceutical (AskBio) for up to $4bn.
As per terms of the deal, Asklepios will secure an upfront consideration of $2bn and potential success-based milestone payments of up to $2bn from Bayer.
Based in North Carolina, AskBio has expertise in the research, development and manufacturing of gene therapies across different therapeutic areas.
AskBio’s development pipeline comprises investigational pre-clinical and clinical-stage candidates to treat the neuromuscular, central nervous system, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.
The deal allows Bayer to acquire full rights of Asklepios’ adeno-associated virus (AAV)-based gene therapy platform and contract development and manufacturing organisation (CDMO).
Established in 2001, AskBio’s gene therapy platform comprises Pro10 cell line manufacturing process and an extensive AAV capsid and promoter library.
The company has developed multiple third-generation AAV capsids and promoters, several of which have entered clinical testing. It has over 500 patents in areas such as AAV production and chimeric and self-complementary capsids.
The acquisition of AskBio is expected to complement Bayer’s 2019 acquisition of BlueRock Therapeutics and consolidate its aim of creating platforms that can influence multiple therapeutic areas.
Subject to customary closing conditions, the deal is expected to be completed during the fourth quarter of this year.
Bayer management board chairman Werner Baumann said: “In line with our purpose ‘science for a better life’, we are committed to bringing significant improvements for patients through innovation.
“With this acquisition, Bayer significantly advances the establishment of a cell and gene therapy platform that can be at the forefront of breakthrough science, contributing to preventing or even curing diseases caused by gene defects and further driving company growth in the future.”
In August, Bayer agreed to acquire UK-based clinical-stage biotech company KaNDy Therapeutics for an upfront consideration of $425m.