December 21, 2015
Bayer and CRISPR Therapeutics AG join Forces to Discover, Develop and Commercialize Potential Cures for Serious Genetic Diseases
The novel joint venture focuses on fundamental breakthrough treatments through first systemic application of promising CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology / Bayer is investing USD 335 million in a long-term alliance with CRISPR Therapeutics through new Bayer LifeScience Center unit / The joint venture will combine two leading knowledge areas: CRISPR-Cas9 from CRISPR Therapeutics as well as protein engineering and disease know-how by BayerLeverkusen, Germany and Basel, Switzerland, December 21, 2015 - Bayer and
CRISPR Therapeutics have entered into an agreement to create a joint venture
(JV) to discover, develop and commercialize new breakthrough therapeutics to
cure blood disorders, blindness, and congenital heart disease. CRISPR
Therapeutics will contribute its proprietary CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing
technology and intellectual property, while Bayer will make available its
protein engineering expertise and relevant disease know-how. It is the first
long-term strategic partnership of its kind to make a substantial investment in
the development of target delivery systems in an effort to bring systemic in
vivo CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology applications to patients.
The JV is the first investment by the newly established Bayer LifeScience
Center (BLSC), which operates as a novel strategic innovation unit in Bayer
directly reporting to Bayer´s Board of Management. The BLSC has the mission to
uncover, encourage and unlock fundamental scientific and medical breakthroughs
more rapidly by enabling innovative partnerships with entrepreneurial
best-in-class biotechnology companies like CRISPR Therapeutics.
"The new Bayer LifeScience Center and the partnership with CRISPR Therapeutics
are representative of Bayer's more than 150-year tradition of developing
scientific innovations that dramatically improve lives," said Dr. Marijn
Dekkers, Chief Executive Officer of Bayer AG. "Bayer and CRISPR Therapeutics
are philosophically and financially aligned in our mission to develop
game-changing or possibly curative treatments for serious human genetic
Bayer will provide a minimum of USD 300 million in R&D investments to the JV
over the next five years. In addition, Bayer will acquire a minority stake in
CRISPR Therapeutics for USD 35 million in cash. The JV will be led by Dr. Axel
Bouchon, Head of the BLSC, on an interim basis as CEO, while Dr. Rodger Novak,
CEO and co-founder of CRISPR Therapeutics, will serve as the interim chairman
of the newly formed JV Board.
"The JV and the Bayer investment are game-changing for our business," said
Rodger Novak. "We keep a 50 percent ownership in the high-risk, high-reward
areas of blood disorders, blindness, and congenital heart diseases, but also
retain full access to target delivery technologies and IP development by the
JV, which we intend to fully leverage in support of CRISPR Therapeutics' wholly
owned core strategic disease areas".
Through the JV, Bayer may secure exclusive rights to use CRISPR Therapeutics'
and the JV's proprietary CRISPR-Cas9 technology and intellectual property in
the three targeted disease areas, including blood disorders, blindness and
congenital heart diseases. CRISPR Therapeutics may gain exclusive access to
Bayer's protein engineering know how for use in Crispr products as well as
Bayer's extensive expertise and knowledge in the three targeted disease areas.
Newly created know-how from the collaboration around the CRISPR-Cas9 system
beyond the three disease areas, will be exclusively made available to CRISPR
Therapeutics for human-use, and to Bayer for non-human use, such as
agricultural applications. All technology development and future IP developed
by the JV will also be exclusively available to the parent companies Bayer and
Moreover, Axel Bouchon said: "We are very impressed by the scientific team of
CRISPR Therapeutics as they have built the most promising gene-editing
technology on the market. This is perfectly suited to fully leverage Bayer´s
expertise in protein engineering and knowledge in the targeted disease areas of
this JV. It´s really exciting to combine the forces of our leading
technologies, scientific excellence and intellectual property. It promises to
have a major impact on patients with serious genetic diseases and also for our
The soon to be named JV will be based in London, UK, with operations in
Closing of the transaction is subject to customary conditions, including merger
control clearance in the US, and expected to occur in the first quarter of 2016.
Since its discovery in 2012, data on the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing system have
been published in more than 1100 scientific and medical journals supporting its
potential applicability to cure serious human diseases that cannot be addressed
with existing technologies. The Science Magazine just named the CRISPR
gene-editing technology "Breakthrough of the Year 2015".
About Gene Editing with CRISPR-Cas9
"CRISPR" refers to Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats
that occur in the genome of certain bacteria, from which the system was
discovered. Cas9 is a CRISPR-associated endonuclease (an enzyme) known to act
as the "molecular scissors" that cut and edit, or correct, disease-associated
DNA in a cell. A guide RNA directs the Cas9 molecular scissors to the exact
site of the disease-associated mutation. Once the molecular scissors make a cut
in the DNA, additional cellular mechanisms and exogenously added DNA will use
the cell's own machinery and other elements to specifically 'repair' the DNA.
This technology may offer the ability to directly modify or correct the
underlying disease-associated changes in the human genome for the potential
treatment of a large number of both rare and common diseases.
Emmanuelle Charpentier, Ph.D., co-founder of CRISPR Therapeutics, co-invented
the CRISPR-Cas9 technology and is the recipient of multiple prestigious awards
in recognition of the contribution that the CRISPR-Cas9 technology may have on
About The Bayer LifeScience Center
The BLSC is a new R&D unit of Bayer that focuses entirely on the development of
ultimate breakthroughs across species by creating a novel platform that allows
technology combination and know-how amplification. Initially, the BLSC will
tackle fundamental challenges through a network of external collaborative
partnerships with the focus on promising new technologies to cure diseases and
to take responsibility for the growing world population.
About CRISPR Therapeutics
CRISPR Therapeutics is focused on the discovery and development of potential
cures for serious diseases using its proprietary CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing
technology. The company's multi-disciplinary team of world-renowned academics,
drug developers and clinicians are working on its own proprietary programs and
also partnering with some of the world's leading pharmaceutical and
biotechnology companies to translate this technology into breakthrough human
therapeutics. The foundational CRISPR-Cas9 patent estate for human therapeutic
use was licensed from scientific founder Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier. The
company is headquartered in Basel, Switzerland and Cambridge, MA, with
corporate offices in London. For more information about the company, go to
Bayer: Science For A Better Life
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the Life Science fields
of health care and agriculture. Its products and services are designed to
benefit people and improve their quality of life. At the same time, the Group
aims to create value through innovation, growth and high earning power. Bayer
is committed to the principles of sustainable development and to its social and
ethical responsibilities as a corporate citizen. In fiscal 2014, the Group
employed around 119,000 people and had sales of EUR 42.2 billion. Capital
expenditures amounted to EUR 2.5 billion, R&D expenses to EUR 3.6 billion.
These figures include those for the high-tech polymers business, which was
floated on the stock market as an independent company named Covestro on October
6, 2015. For more information, go to www.bayer.com.
Find more information at www.bayer.com.