Bayer AG acquired Asklepios BioPharmaceutical, Inc., a US-headquartered biopharmaceutical company specialized in the research, development and manufacturing of gene therapies across different therapeutic areas.
Under the terms of the agreement, Bayer will pay an upfront consideration of USD 2 billion and potential success-based milestone payments of up to USD 2 billion. Closing of the transaction is contingent on customary closing conditions, including receipt of the required regulatory approvals, and is expected to take place during the fourth quarter of 2020.
AskBio’s development portfolio includes investigational pre-clinical and clinical stage candidates for the treatment of neuromuscular, central nervous system, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.
Bayer will own full rights to AskBio’s gene therapy platform, including a broad intellectual property portfolio and an established contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) laying the foundation for future partnerships in the area of adeno-associated virus (AAV) therapies. The addition of AskBio to Bayer’s emerging cell and gene therapy (CGT) business strengthens Bayer’s commitment to the field. It complements the 2019 acquisition of BlueRock Therapeutics and consolidates Bayer’s plans to create platforms with the potential to have an impact in multiple therapeutic areas.
AskBio’s gene therapy platform includes a cell line manufacturing process and an extensive AAV capsid and promoter library. The company has generated hundreds of proprietary third generation AAV capsids and promoters that offer differentiation through potentially improved efficacy, immune response and tissue and organ specificity. AskBio’s lead research programs, which are focused on Pompe disease, Parkinson’s disease and congestive heart failure are currently in early phases of clinical development.
AskBio will continue to operate as an independent company on an arm’s-length basis. Bayer’s newly established CGT unit will combine Bayer’s activities in this area moving forward in order to establish an innovation ecosystem for the participating partners within the Bayer organization.