Bayer Lifescience Center (BLSC) is the innovation division of German Giant Bayer, which aims to address challenges in the pharmaceutical and agro-industry.
Its strategy is to establish collaborations with innovative Biotechs, and create a novel platform that allows technology combination and know-how amplification.
Fig. 1: Cas9 DNA-splicer programmed by RNA strands, in illustrations from Charpentier’s ground-breaking paper in CRISPR.
BLSC has now struck a deal with an important puzzle piece – CRISPR-Cas9, the revolutionary gene-editing tool. It has signed a deal with ERS Genomics, the Dublin-based company that manages the patent portfolio of Emmanuelle Charpentier – one of the discoverers of CRISPR.
The financial details of the deal were not disclosed, nor the specific applications CRISPR will be used in.
Bayer advanced that it will leverage the technology in its focus areas, which span several challenges in human health (including heart and eye disease) and plant science (such as crop diversity and novel insecticides).
BLSC had already joined a venture with CRISPR Therapeutics (Switzerland) in a deal that reached €275M. This second company is also using Charpentier’s CRISPR patents, but directly as a therapy in human health – and fighting a patent war in this new revolutionary field.
Bayer is also a big name to join ERS Genomics portfolio of licensees, which already included companies like Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (US) and Horizon Discovery (UK).
What will be achieved with CRISPR and Bayer’s deep pockets? Future will tell.
A brief explanation of the science of CRISPR…
Figure 1 Credit: Jinek et al. (2012) A Programmable Dual-RNA–Guided DNA Endonuclease in Adaptive Bacterial Immunity. Science (doi: 10.1126/science.1225829)