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Bayer HealthCare (BAY) to Lay Off Researchers in San Francisco's Mission Bay

8/12/2016 7:07:44 AM

Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals to Lay Off Researchers in San Francisco's Mission Bay August 12, 2016
By Alex Keown, Breaking News Staff

SAN FRANCISCO – Bayer (BAY) will shed an unknown number of early stage researchers in that company’s Mission Bay facility as it begins to hone in on specialty areas of research, the San Francisco Business Times reported this morning.

Bayer’s Mission Bay facility in the Bay Area will continue to focus on cardiovascular, cancer and gynecological research. However, the company will be shedding its early-stage research in hematology and ophthalmology, the Times said. Bayer employs about 70 people at its Mission Bay facility. It is not known when the layoffs will begin, nor how many will be affected by the decision.

Although Bayer’s Mission Bay site will drop its hematology work, the company will continue its gene therapy partnership with Massachusetts-based Dimension Therapeutics (DMTX) to develop treatments for hemophilia A. The two-year-old partnership is developing IND-enabling studies, a novel AAV gene therapy product, DTX201, to treat patients with hemophilia A. DTX201 is designed to deliver Factor VIII, or FVIII, gene expression that will potentially remove the need for long-term routine intravenous injections of hemophilia A patients.
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Additionally, the Times noted that Bayer plans to continue a partnership with Johns Hopkins University’s Wilmer Eye Institute to explore treatments for some eye diseases. Bayer and the eye institute entered into a five-year collaboration in 2015 to develop therapies targeting retinal diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration, diabetic macular edema, geographic atrophy, Stargardt’s disease and retinal vein occlusion.

While Bayer will continue those partnerships, the bulk of its internal focus will center on its three core disease areas -- cardiovascular, oncology and gynecological, Jennifer Chang, a Bayer spokesperson told the Times in an email. Work on those core areas will continue at the Mission Bay site and is unlikely to cause the company to change its physical footprint in the area, the Times added.

Last year, Bayer announced it was looking to launch five oncology treatments within the next few years. Bayer has 17 oncology therapies in development, including ODM-201 which will be used to treat prostate cancer and copanlisib for the treatment of indolent non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Additionally, Bayer has Xofigo for the treatment of patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer, symptomatic bone metastases and no known visceral metastatic disease. Bayer acquired Xofigo in 2014 when it purchased Norway-based Algeta ASA for $2.9 billion. While Bayer will lay off some of its employees in Mission Bay, the Times noted that the 1,600 employees at the German drugmaker’s Berkeley, Calif. distribution center and Cambridge, Mass. innovation center will not be affected by the layoffs. Bayer also operates a CoLaborator incubator in Mission Bay and that will not be impacted, the Times said.

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