Market Overview

Bayer To Buy Out Stem Cell Therapy Company BlueRock For Up To $600M

Bayer To Buy Out Stem Cell Therapy Company BlueRock For Up To $600M

Biotech M&A has been on a roll this year, with companies striking up both mid- and large-sized deals. 

What Happened

German chemicals and pharma company Bayer AG (OTC: BAYRY) announced an agreement Thursday to buy out the remaining stake it does not already own in Cambridge, Massachusetts-based BlueRock Therapeutics, a privately held stem cell therapy company.

The deal calls for an upfront cash payment of $240 million at closing and an additional $360 million for the achievement of predefined development milestones.

BlueRock was established in 2016 as a joint venture between Bayer and Versant Ventures, with the former holding a 40.8% stake.

The additional investment Bayer is making in BlueRock values the latter at about $1 billion.

Why It's Important

BlueRock's cell therapy portfolio focuses on neurology, cardiology and immunology, using a proprietary induced pluripotent stem cell, or iPSC platform. It has a lead program in Parkinson's disease that is expected to enter clinic by the end of 2019.

Cell therapy is one of the latest and fast-growing therapeutics options dealing with the transplantation of human cells to replace or repair damaged tissue and/or cells.

The cells used can be hematopoietic or blood-forming stem cells, skeletal muscle cells, mesenchymal cells, lymphocytes, dendritic cells and pancreatic islet cells.

"In line with our strategy to ramp up our investments in technologies with breakthrough innovation potential, we have decided to build our cell therapy pipeline based on BlueRock Therapeutics' industry-leading iPSC platform," said Stefan Oelrich, president of the Bayer Pharma division.

The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2019.

BlueRock will remain an independent company under Bayer, according to the press release.

Bayer shares were trading higher by 2.86% at $17.25 at the time of publication Thursday. 

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Posted-In: BlueRock TherapeuticsBiotech M&A News Trading Ideas General Best of Benzinga


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