Bayer Pharmaceuticals unveils plans to bring new wave of medical breakthroughs to life

02 Apr 2024

Bayer showcased the latest advancements in the transformation of its Pharma business to fuel long-term, sustainable growth as part of its Pharma strategy at its annual Pharma Media Day 2024.

Bayer Pharmaceuticals unveils plans to bring new wave of medical breakthroughs to life

"We have made significant progress in growing our pipeline value, clearly demonstrating that our revised R&D strategy is bearing fruit," said Stefan Oelrich, Member of the Board of Management, Bayer AG and President of Bayer's Pharmaceuticals Division. "At the same time, we are further expanding our presence in key therapeutic areas, making important progress and ensuring we are able to deliver our medicines to as many patients as possible."

Specifically, the company has strengthened its innovation engine with a clear research focus on four core therapeutic areas (cardiovascular diseases, oncology, immunology and neurology & rare diseases), extended capabilities through collaborations and acquisitions of platform companies and increased the quality of its pipeline through rigorous portfolio pruning.

"We have been working diligently in Research & Development over the past 24 months and are making important progress in rebuilding a healthy pipeline," said Christian Rommel, Member of the Executive Committee of Bayer's Pharmaceuticals Division and Head of Research and Development. "We will continue to drive this forward with a great sense of urgency, in particular by sustainably generating more innovative Investigational New Drug applications, by increasing the contributions from our platform companies and by mining for attractive new external partnerships or deals."

Reimagining health for women

By advancing a portfolio of innovative treatments, Bayer is investing in broadening the therapeutic options and raising the standard of care for menopausal women.

By 2030, the world population of women experiencing menopause is projected to increase to 1.2 billion, with 47 million new women entering this phase each year. Over one-third of menopausal women report severe symptoms, which can last 10 years or more after the last menstrual period, with relevant impact on their quality of life. Yet, around 30% of women consulting a healthcare professional due to moderate to severe symptoms were not prescribed any treatment.

"Many women worldwide are suffering from vasomotor symptoms during their menopausal transition, which, along with sleep disturbances, are common symptoms which can strongly impact their quality of life," said Cecilia Caetano, Head Global Medical Affairs Women's Health at Bayer AG. "We are committed to advance science and break the silence by driving education, awareness and broadening treatment choices to support women across all stages of their lives."

Delivering continued growth in oncology

Bayer is making important progress on its journey towards becoming a leading oncology company.

"We have ramped up our precision oncology development capabilities to unlock the next generation of breakthrough therapies and build a strong, sustainable pipeline across the areas of tumor intrinsic pathways, immuno-oncology, and targeted radiotherapies," said Dominik Ruettinger, M.D., Ph.D., Head of Research and Early Development for Oncology at Bayer AG. "Addressing high unmet medical needs in cancer care, we are striving to push the boundaries of innovation to provide patients with impactful medicines fitted to their personal needs."

Next to cardiovascular diseases, cancer remains the leading cause of death worldwide. Despite all progress, the numbers are set to rise. Observations indicate that the patient population with cancer is changing, with more patients being younger at first diagnosis and more patients being diagnosed at an earlier stage of their disease. These patients require both efficacious and "kinder", better tolerated medicines, as well as therapies that are designed to overcome drug resistance.

Bayer has invested significantly in innovation targeted to these fields, focusing on expanding the pool of druggable targets representing a true cancer vulnerability and accelerating the drug development process. With the acquisition of Vividion and its industry-leading chemoproteomics platform, Bayer has strengthened its pharmaceutical research and pipeline in the field of small molecules and precision therapeutics. Vividion's innovative technology allows identification of previously unknown binding pockets on undruggable targets to generate novel drug candidates in indications with high unmet medical need.

Delivering on the promise of cell therapy and gene therapy

Cell therapies and gene therapies bring new, potentially transformative treatment approaches that could ultimately stop or reverse diseases with a once-in-a-lifetime intervention. Bayer's continuous investments in the area - from early research through to enabling access through manufacturing capacities and platforms - emphasize the therapies' significance as a key future growth-driver for the company and confirm the commitment to translate their promise into tangible treatments for patients.

Bayer, together with its subsidiaries BlueRock and AskBio, is advancing a competitive preclinical and clinical cell therapy and gene therapy portfolio.

"Since 2020, Bayer has invested more than 3.5 billion Euro in the build-up of technology platforms for the discovery and development of cell therapies and gene therapies - two of the fastest growing and competitive fields in modern healthcare," said Christian Rommel, Member of the Executive Committee of Bayer's Pharmaceuticals Division and Head of Research and Development. "We are excited about the critical progress we are making with our diverse and state-of-the-art therapeutic modality platforms. While these programs are still at an earlier stage, we are confident that we will be able to translate them into meaningful benefit for patients in the future."

New operating model driving efficiency and productivity to accelerate growth

With its new company-wide operating model, called Dynamic Shared Ownership (DSO), the company is becoming more mission-centric and value-focused. Guided by customer needs and empowered for rapid decision-making, small cross-functional teams with expertise from all relevant parts of the value chain drive product and customer excellence.

"The introduction of Dynamic Shared Ownership could not come at a better time for us in Pharma, as it will help us to identify business opportunities earlier and realize them faster while making more efficient use of our resources, thereby ultimately improving our long-term returns," said Stefan Oelrich, Member of the Board of Management, Bayer AG and President of Bayer's Pharmaceuticals Division. "This is not only good news for us as a company, but also for the patients we serve as we hope to bring future innovations to life more efficiently and effectively moving forward."