GERMANY – Bayer has announced plans to invest more than €1.3 billion (US$1.4 billion) in its Leaps by Bayer impact investment unit over the next three years at its first Breakthrough Innovation Forum.

According to the company, the unit ‘follows a unique approach aimed at tackling ten of humanity’s biggest challenges, such as curing cancer or reducing agriculture’s environmental impact.’

Bayer shared insights on its ongoing progress to drive long-term breakthrough innovations in the life sciences at the Breakthrough Innovation Forum on April 1.

Bayer executives demonstrated how a new wave of innovations was set to open new doors in next-generation healthcare and provide solutions to make agriculture more sustainable and resource efficient.

During the event, renowned experts and Bayer executives demonstrated how a new wave of innovations will create new opportunities in next-generation healthcare and farming solutions to make agriculture more sustainable and less resource intensive.

We stand at the dawn of a new age of innovation in the Life Sciences,” said Werner Baumann, Chairman of the Board of Management of Bayer.

Our ability to tackle some of the greatest challenges is increasing rapidly. From providing answers for incurable diseases, equipping people with preventive tools to live healthier, better and longer lives, to producing more agricultural output whilst significantly reducing inputs and respecting the planetary boundaries.

This ability is particularly driven by the accelerating confluence of biology, chemistry, advanced computing, data analytics and artificial intelligence.

“As a leader in health and nutrition, Bayer is further stepping up its efforts to be a driver of this new era of innovation. Ultimately, better innovation is the engine that drives superior business results and outperformance.”

Tackling humanity’s biggest challenges with Leaps by Bayer

In the health sector, the company stated that it expects an increasing number of technologies to address unmet medical needs.

Bayer’s Leaps initiative takes a novel approach to addressing ten of humanity’s most pressing issues, such as curing cancer and reducing agriculture’s environmental impact.

Over the last seven years, we have invested more than 1.3 billion euros (US$1.4 billion) across a portfolio of more than 50 companies – all with the goal of shifting core paradigms in the sectors of Health and Agriculture,” said Jürgen Eckhardt, Head of Leaps by Bayer.

Leaps has established a number of joint ventures, such as JoynBio and the former portfolio company BlueRock Therapeutics, which is now wholly owned by Bayer, and has successfully led several investment rounds.

Recursion, an AI-focused company working to find new drug treatments for lung fibrosis and other fibrotic diseases, is one example. Recursion successfully went public in April 2021.

Bayer is heavily investing in new areas of biomedical innovation, particularly cell and gene therapies. Bayer has invested more than 2.5 billion euros (US$2.7 billion) in building a Cell & Gene Therapy Platform over the last three years, including acquisitions of BlueRock Therapeutics and Asklepios BioPharmaceutical (AskBio).

Furthermore, Bayer is collaborating to drive innovation in strategic collaborations with Atara Biotherapeutics and Mammoth Biosciences to capitalize on the collaborative advantages of partnerships.

With eight projects in various stages of clinical development, the company’s strong preclinical and clinical cell and gene therapy portfolio is already benefiting its pipeline.

These include leading programs in Parkinson’s disease, Pompe disease, and congestive heart failure, as well as therapeutic areas with a high unmet medical need.

Bayer has also significantly expanded its drug discovery capabilities with the acquisition of Vividion Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company that uses novel discovery technologies to unlock high-value, previously unreachable targets with precision therapeutics.

Investing in precision healthcare

Bayer has stated that it is investing in precision health, as well as the future potential of the personalized supplements market.

Bayer is well-positioned to capitalize on the growth and future potential of the personalized supplements market, thanks to its majority ownership of Care/of, a personalized nutrition company originally invested in by Bayer’s Leaps arm.

Furthermore, the company has established innovation partnerships in the field of healthy aging, which use novel biological insights to inform how proper nutrition and lifestyle choices can improve cellular health and promote healthy aging.

These initiatives supplement the company’s portfolio of science-based nutritional supplements and preventive health products, which has grown by double digits year over year for the past two years.

The pandemic has heightened the importance of everyday health,” said Heiko Schipper, Member of the Board of Management of Bayer AG and President of the Consumer Health division.

Advancing innovation-driven solutions in self-care will enable individuals to take more proactive, personalized care of their everyday health.”

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