Why we partner

We are part of an industry that is lauded for producing innovative therapies that change patients’ lives. It is an industry that has fostered incredible scientific development, producing drugs to treat a range of conditions from heart failure and thrombosis to multiple cancer treatments. We want to continue developing innovative treatments as efficiently as possible so we value collaboration with likeminded partners who share our quest to provide new options for patients. Here are some of the reasons why we partner:

Strong partnerships have the power to spark innovation. We want to complement our comprehensive in-house expertise with the know-how of excellent partners from academia and industry.

Dr. Joerg Moeller, Member of the Executive Committee of Bayer AG's Pharmaceuticals Division and Head of Research and Development

To bring new treatments to patients quicker than before

We will do whatever it takes to deliver solutions to patients. For us, innovation isn’t limited to the next major breakthrough therapy – we also celebrate the seemingly smaller successes because we know there are patients waiting for new ways in which they can live better. Partnering gives us the chance to establish scientific relationships across indications to foster scientific progress and benefits for patients. Our ultimate goal is always to provide more options for patients as fast and efficiently as possible.

Our collaboration exemplifies how academic creativity and industrial drug development experiences can be perfectly combined.

Prof. Hong Wu, Dean of School of Life Sciences of Peking University

To extend our existing knowledge and expertise

We are proud of our in-house expertise and we have scores of people who work hard to find new solutions to some of healthcare’s most challenging problems. However, we cannot possibly claim to know everything. We welcome different forms of collaboration: from traditional licensing agreements or strategic alliances to public-private partnerships, consortia or open innovation models. By complementing our internal capabilities with the know-how of exceptional partners, we have access to a vast pool of expertise that we can tap into to improve research and development of new medicines.

To speed up innovation

We want to take advantage of the latest trends so we are flexible when it comes to how we foster medical innovation. New models of collaboration have emerged and are rapidly increasing in number. These new alliances are broad; they involve entire departments and even entire institutions. By finding new and creative approaches to build upon and harness such knowledge, we can speed up the time it takes to research and development innovative medicines.

To maintain connections to the global scientific community

We are geographically flexible - that means that we go where the science is. We have five Innovation Centers in some of the most vibrant cities across the world so we can maintain our local scientific networks and are looking for new collaborations all the time.

We do a lot of R&D in partnership and the way we do it is constantly evolving. The types of partnership we have today are different from those we had ten years ago. We must remain flexible in light of the changes in our industry so I’m fairly certain that in five to ten years, the way in which we partner will have changed again.

Dr. Hans Lindner, Head of Global External Innovation and Alliances at Bayer


Different ways of partnering


Industry-Industry collaborations

Why do we do it?

We don’t collaborate simply to enhance our geographic or commercial footprint, but to pool expertise and portfolios. Sharing know-how can accelerate the research and development process and ensure that we bring drugs to patients faster than before.

We talk science and understand business. Depending on the status of a project, potential partners can expect to talk to our experts who have a strong background in biotech and start-ups, as well as our top-notch marketers. Our partnering team sets up a tailor-made, sustainable collaboration format to build a relationship built on trust and integrity. This allows us to move innovative science forward together, and maximizes value for both partners and patients.

Mark Wolters, Head of Early Licensing at Bayer

What are the results?

Bayer has dedicated departments that identify promising technologies and assets from other companies that have a strong potential for successful innovation. These late stage collaborations focus on compounds in Phase I studies and beyond.

One such example is our collaboration with Loxo Oncology to develop compounds to treat patients suffering from cancers that harbor a specific gene fusion called neurotrophic tyrosine receptor kinase (NTRK). Loxo Oncology has already submitted the first product from this collaboration to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to apply for marketing authorization. We hope that this cooperation will soon provide hope for children and adults with difficult-to-treat cancers.

We also partner with companies at an earlier development stage. For example, since 2012, Bayer has been in collaboration with Evotec, an external innovation drug discovery and development company. The partnership began with the research and development of new treatment options for the neglected disease of endometriosis. Since 2016, we have also entered into a partnership to research and develop drugs for the treatment of kidney diseases.

We are proud to be the partner of choice for Bayer to develop a first in class treatment to fight endometriosis.

Dr. Werner Lanthaler, CEO of Evotec AG

Academic-Industry collaborations

Why do we do it?

The number of collaborations between industry and academia or consortia is increasing rapidly. Such alliances are broad and contribute to entire therapeutic areas, not only single compounds, and often last for years.

What are the results?

Bayer now has over 30 collaborations with academic institutions. One such example is our work together with the renowned Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, one of the leading global research institutes in biomedicine. The partnership began in 2013 with a focus on finding new ways to tackle cancer. In 2015, we began a new collaboration focusing on heart and blood (cardiovascular) diseases which uses insights from human genetics to help create new therapies. Most recently, we opened a joint precision cardiology laboratory in June 2018 to further our combined research of new ways to treat patients with cardiovascular diseases such as heart failure.

The opening of the precision cardiology laboratory with our partners from the Broad Institute is a great example of how I envision the future of R&D at Bayer Pharmaceuticals: working to provide solutions for patients who suffer from serious medical conditions in partnerships where each party contributes unique capabilities.

Dr. Joerg Moeller, Member of the Executive Committee of Bayer AG's Pharmaceuticals Division and Head of Research and Development

We also partner with consortia such as the Structural Genomics Consortium and are very active in the Innovative Medicines Initiative. These collaborations do not necessarily target the development of specific drugs, but rather investigate new research methods.

We have played an active role in the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) participating in 40 projects, including:

  • The CANCER-ID project aims to develop new and less invasive ways of examining cancer cells and genetic material from tumors by analyzing blood samples for clues to what treatment is needed and how well drugs are working.
  • We are part of IMI’s Big Data for Better Outcomes (BD4BO) program which generates knowledge, data and methodologies needed to support the transition towards more outcome-focused, sustainable healthcare systems in Europe.
  • IMI’s EUPATI project developed patient engagement program that includes an in-depth training course, online toolbox, and national platforms which has boosted patient empowerment in Europe and beyond.

By improving the way we conduct our R&D activities, we make sure that developing drugs for our patients is carried out as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Innovation centers

Why we do it?

Bayer has established “Innovation Centers” in close proximity to leading academic institutions worldwide. By decreasing the practice of maintaining internal, traditional R&D infrastructures and by increasing external collaboration through these centers, academic and company scientists can combine their expertise to solve R&D challenges. We hope that these centers will become a hub of scientific excellence and innovation, integrating internal and external expertise. In short, by remaining an active member of the scientific community and its various networks, we can share and gain knowledge that helps us in our R&D activities.

What are the results?

We have innovation centers in various locations around the world, including Japan. Established in 2014 in Osaka, the task of the Innovation Center Japan (ICJ) is to find research cooperation projects throughout the country. The projects usually focus on diseases of considerable unmet medical need and help to advance the development of innovative treatments.

Bayer has also set up “CoLaborators” which offer young life-sciences companies the opportunity to open their research laboratories either on the campuses of, or in close proximity to, the pharmaceuticals division of Bayer in: San Francisco, Berlin, Moscow, and Kobe.

We’ve found tremendous value in the CoLaborator’s high quality lab space, the built-in flexibility for future team growth, and the caliber of the other teams that reside in the space. Bayer has truly been a great partner for us, both as an accelerator and as a great collaborative partner in our product development work!

Brian Feth, CEO of Xcell Biosciences and CoLaborator tenant

Each CoLaborator follows an incubator concept which offers laboratory space alongside access to the company’s research expertise and infrastructure as well as a first point of contact in the search for partnering options in the pharmaceutical industry.

The close proximity of the Bayer scientists and entrepreneurs at the CoLaborator is exactly what we believed would accelerate DNALite's mission. We are further grateful for an environment where the facilities are handled so smoothly that we can have unadulterated focus on building ambitious therapies for patients.

Mubhij Ahmad, CEO of DNALite Therapeutics


Why we do it?

Crowdsourcing is yet another mechanism by which we can reach beyond our organization and tap into the growing pool of global knowledge.

What are the results?

Bayer has several crowdsourcing initiatives, some of which are over 10 years old. One of Bayer’s most productive initiatives is Grants4Targets which translates ideas from basic research into novel drugs through grants for research on new drug targets in various indications. To date, the program has received more than 1,000 proposals and yielded a number of technologies or compounds that are now in development in disease areas ranging from heart and blood diseases to cancer. Other crowdsourcing initiatives include: Grants4Indications, PartnerYourAntibodies and Grants4Apps.

What’s interesting and unique about Grants4Targets is that Bayer can support not only by funding research but also they can provide some of the resources to develop drugs. I found the culture at Bayer to be very collaborative; the Bayer culture is about win-win.”

Professor Hodaka Fujii, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Epigeneron, a recipient of sponsorship through Bayer’s Grants4Targets initiative


1 National Cancer Institute, NCI Dictionary of Terms, Phase I, last accessed September 2018

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