Bayer to acquire BlueRock Therapeutics for $240M

Bayer said it is acquiring the remaining stake of its cell therapy joint venture BlueRock Technologies, a biotechnology company focused on cell therapies for neurology, cardiology and immunology.

The German-based chemicals and pharmaceutical group, which has a major presence in Whippany, said it will acquire BlueRock for approximately $240 million in cash upfront at closing and an additional $360 million in development milestones.

Bayer currently holds a 40.8% stake in BlueRock.

“This acquisition marks a major milestone on our path towards a leading position in cell therapy,” Stefan Oelrich, member of the board of management, Bayer AG, and president, pharmaceuticals division, said. “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. Ultimately, we are joining forces to deliver new treatment options for medical needs that are still unmet today.”

Under terms of the deal, BlueRock will continue to operate as an independent company.

“We are extremely excited to be part of the world-class Bayer organization,” Emile Nuwaysir, CEO BlueRock, said. “We have built a premier cell therapy platform at BlueRock Therapeutics, with industry-leading R&D, process development and manufacturing capabilities. With the expertise and support of Bayer, we will be even better positioned to pursue the discovery, development and commercialization of revolutionary new cell therapies for patients suffering from diseases previously thought of as intractable.”

In 2016, Bayer and Versant Ventures established BlueRock with a $225 million Series A financing as part of its Leaps by Bayer unit. Leaps works to establish new companies and invests in early-stage technologies.

“This transaction is not only the foundation for an iPSC-based cell therapy portfolio, but also a manifestation of a successful innovation strategy by our Leaps unit to create biotechnological solutions that have truly transformative potential and may cure patients in life-threatening conditions one day,” Kemal Malik, Bayer board member for innovation, said.

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