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Bayer takes over Vividion

The big pharma company is shelling out US$1.5bn in the acquisition of US screening specialist Vividion Therapeutics.

The acquisition strengthens Bayer’s oncology and immunology pipeline and secures a revolutionary screening technology for small molecule drugs that bind to hidden binding pockets of therapeutically difficult-to-access proteins. Roche AG had already recognised the value of the platform technology in May 2020, paying US$134m upfront to screen E3 ligase inhibitors as well as undisclosed cancer and immunology drug target blockers. Bayer AG is acquiring a pipeline of preclinically already validated inhibitors of the transcription factors NRF2, STAT3, and WRN, as well as Vividion Therapeutics’ chemoproteomics screening platform.

NRF2 blockers and agonists alone open up potentially billion-dollar development opportunities in the treatment of cancer and irritable bowel syndrome.

Approximately 90% of protein-based drug targets are currently therapeutically unresponsive. Vividion combines a drug library of small molecule compounds with in-house detection technology that indicates binding of these highly selective molecules to cryptic and hidden protein binding pockets, as well as a database that incorporates the latest protein structure data in screening.

“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,” commented Stefan Oelrich, Member of the Board of Management, Bayer AG and President of the Bayer’s Pharmaceuticals Division. “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.”

Bayer AG plans to complete the acquisition in the third quarter of 2021.