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Bayer strengthens drug discovery platform through acquisition of Vividion Therapeutics

Bayer AG announced the acquisition of Vividion Therapeutics, a US-headquartered biopharmaceutical company utilizing novel discovery technologies to unlock high value, traditionally undruggable targets with precision therapeutics. Vividion’s platform is able to produce a variety of small molecule therapies across indications, with initial focus on targets relevant to oncology and immunology. Vividion’s lead programs include multiple precision oncology targets and precision immunology targets, with ongoing efforts on a transcription factor NRF2 antagonist for the potential treatment of NRF2 mutant cancers, as well as NRF2 activators for various inflammatory diseases such as irritable bowel disease – among other pre-clinical programs.

Following closing of the acquisition, Bayer will own full rights to Vividion’s proprietary discovery platform, which comprises three integrated, synergistic components: a novel chemoproteomic screening technology, an integrated data portal, and a proprietary chemistry library. The acquisition of Vividion strengthens Bayer’s small molecule capabilities and expands Bayer’s reach into new modalities. Under the terms of the agreement, Bayer will pay an upfront consideration of USD 1.5 billion and potential success-based milestone payments of up to USD 500 million.

This acquisition is a cornerstone of our strategy to fuel our pipeline with breakthrough innovation, – said Stefan Oelrich, Member of the Board of Management, Bayer AG and President of the Bayer’s Pharmaceuticals Division. – Vividion’s technology is the most advanced in the industry, and it has demonstrated its ability to identify drug candidates that can target challenging proteins. Together with Bayer’s existing know-how, we will be able to develop first-in-class drug candidates, increasing the value of our pipeline. We want to provide innovative therapies for patients whose medical needs are not yet met by today’s treatment options.

Identification of drug candidates for proteins that are considered undruggable is a great challenge in drug discovery. Vividion’s chemoproteomic screening platform is able to identify previously unknown binding pockets on well-validated protein targets by screening chemical probes against the entire human proteome to assess selectivity. This yields highly potent and selective compounds that provide a wide therapeutic window for a variety of areas of high-unmet medical need. Vividion’s technology has already proven its applicability pre-clinically in oncology and immune-related diseases, and has the potential to expand into additional indications.

Despite advances in genomics, structural biology and high-throughput screening, about 90% of disease-causing proteins cannot be targeted by current therapies due to the lack of a known addressable binding site. Our proprietary chemoproteomic platform technology addresses the key limitations of conventional screening techniques and allows us to discover previously unknown, or cryptic, functional pockets on the surface of proteins and identify small molecules that selectively bind to those targets, – said Jeff Hatfield, Chief Executive Officer at Vividion. – When combined with Bayer’s expertise in the development of small molecules to market and patient, an unparalleled position comes into existence to unlock undruggable targets and generate first-in-class novel compounds for the benefit of patients.

To preserve its entrepreneurial culture as an essential pillar for nurturing successful innovation, Vividion will continue to operate as an independent organization on an arm’s length basis. Vividion will remain accountable to advance its technology and portfolio while benefiting from the experience, infrastructure and reach of Bayer as a global pharmaceutical company.

Closing of the transaction is contingent on customary closing conditions, including receipt of the required regulatory approvals, and is expected to take place in Q3 2021.


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