Image source: Vividion Therapeutics
German healthcare conglomerate Bayer AG announced on Thursday it will spend at least $1.5 billion to acquire Vividion Therapeutics, a small US biotechnology firm focused on discovering drugs that target previously unknown binding sites to create novel therapies.
Founded in 2013, San Diego-based Vividion is mainly focused on NRF2-mutant cancers and NRF2 activators for inflammatory diseases, like irritable bowel disease.
The transaction, which is expected to close during the third quarter, includes a $1.5 billion upfront payment, along with possible “success-based” milestone payments of $500 million, according to a press release.
As part of the deal, Vividion will continue to operate independently but “on an arm’s length basis,” while Bayer gets full rights to the firm’s chemoproteomic screening technology (interaction between small molecule compounds and proteins), data portal and proprietary chemistry library.
Stefan Oelrich, President of Bayer’s pharmaceuticals division, said the move will broaden the firm's abilities to discover new treatments and increase the value of its drug pipeline.
“Vividion’s technology is the most advanced in the industry, and it has demonstrated its ability to identify drug candidates that can target challenging proteins. Together with Bayer’s existing know-how, we will be able to develop first-in-class drug candidates, increasing the value of our pipeline. We want to provide innovative therapies for patients whose medical needs are not yet met by today’s treatment options,” Oelrich said in a statement.
Vividion chief executive officer Jeff Hatfield said his company’s technology, combined with Bayer’s support, puts them in “an unparalleled position” to “unlock undruggable targets and generate first-in-class novel compounds for the benefits of patients.”
Up until late June, Vividion had been preparing to raise money via an initial public offering, but the biotech was won over by a bid from Bayer that would enable it to keep running autonomously while having the support and resources of a global corporation.
Vividion has raised $265 million over several rounds of financing, receiving backing from firms such as ARCH Venture Partners and Versant Ventures. It has also partnered with cancer drug powerhouses Bristol Myers Squibb and Roche Holdings AG on a few programs.
For Bayer, the deal is the latest acquisition aimed at bolstering its pharmaceutical business.
Bayer acquired North Carolina-based gene therapy developer AskBio in October 2020 for $2 billion and cell therapy company BlueRock in August 2018 for $240 million.
Source: Equities News