For over 120 years, Bayer has been researching and developing innovative medications and new therapeutic approaches that help make a difference to people’s lives. With its focus on life sciences, Bayer is perfectly positioned to maximize interdisciplinary cooperation and leverage commonalities across human, animal and plant health. At Bayer, we continue to work tirelessly in the pursuit of new therapies for the treatment of diseases where there is a high level of medical need, such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
"Our most important task is to discover innovative drugs which will improve the quality of life for patients." Prof. Dr. Andreas Busch, Head of Drug Discovery
Focusing on high medical need – therapeutic areas
Thousands of people in Bayer’s research and development around the globe are dedicated to finding new active ingredients for prescription medicines – solutions that improve patient’s quality of life and prolong lives. Our research and development is concentrated on the therapeutic areas: cardiovascular diseases, oncology, gynecology, hematology, and ophthalmology.
In cardiovascular, Bayer is working in a wide range of therapeutic areas on new treatment approaches for heart, vascular, lung and kidney diseases. In all these fields the researchers are focusing on processes and signaling pathways relevant to diseases of the cardiovascular system. For example, a new mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) antagonist is currently being tested for the treatment of patients with diabetic kidney diseases.
As part of its oncology research, Bayer is currently pursuing a range of different therapeutic approaches, such as the development of small molecules that selectively inhibit enzymes involved in tumor growth. We are also investigating antibody-drug as well as antibody-thorium-conjugates that transport cell toxins or radioactive substances (alpha radiation) to the site of the disease and then release them in tumor cells to selectively destroy them. Bayer is also working on new immunotherapies that mobilize the patient’s own immune system to autonomously combat tumors. Other important research fields include the area of cancer stem cells or oncogenomics, which investigates tumor-specific gene mutations.
In hematology, the development of treatments for hemophilia including a highly innovative venture together with an external Partner to test a gene therapy approach in this field.
Research interest in the women’s healthcare field is concentrated on approaches to treat gynecological diseases with a high medical need such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids or the polycystic ovary syndrome. We currently have a number of active substances in preclinical and clinical testing, including a selective progesterone receptor modulator. In addition, we continue to work on further developing a selective range of long-acting hormonal contraceptives.
In ophthalmology, we focus on the development of new therapeutic options for eye diseases such as wet age-related or dry macular degeneration as well as the diabetic macular edema, which can lead to severe visual impairment or even blindness.
“We focus on therapeutic areas with a high unmet medical need, areas that require further innovation despite the progress that has been made.” Dr. Joerg Moeller, Head of Development
A world of expertise – collaboration with external partners
To help accelerating pharmaceutical innovations for patients and gain a better understanding of major diseases, we collaborate with a number of partners from academia and the biotech industry who contribute specialized knowledge and cutting-edge technologies. These co-operations form one of the pillars of Bayer’s innovation strategy. We believe that through partnering we can leverage today’s scientific know-how and translate it into innovative medicines. True partnerships have the power to kindle the innovative impulses that advance medicine and benefit patients as well as our partners and ourselves. Our strategic partnerships include research institutes such as for example the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Boston, and the Tsinghua University in Beijing. With our global organization and regional partnering teams, we work together with world-class partners in all phases of the value chain – from research to development and production to marketing.
From molecules to medicine – the development pipeline
It takes about ten to twelve years to develop a new drug. During this time, highly qualified scientists from a variety of disciplines work on filtering out a suitable active ingredient from an enormous number of compounds. Between 5,000 and 10,000 compounds are rigorously studied in numerous laboratory tests and the best ones further optimized. Out of four or five drug candidates that are then tested on humans in clinical studies often only one substance is approved and becomes available to physicians and patients.
Getting the right fit – personalized medicine
Disease processes may differ from person to person and the effects of medicines can also vary. Individual differences between people – such as genes or age – influence not only the onset of diseases, but also how medicines are absorbed and metabolized in the body. To overcome this, Bayer’s scientists are engaged in developing ‘personalized medicine’ approaches – to a defined patient population with customized therapies that take into account the differences with the ultimate goal of improving a patient's response rate to a chosen treatment and reducing side effects. These approaches are especially valuable in oncology where biochemical and genetic preconditions vary across every tumor types.