Bayer Opens Innovation Center in Boston

Bayer Opens Innovation Center in Boston
March 15, 2016
By Alex Keown, Breaking News Staff

BOSTON – Bayer is looking to develop relationships with multiple life science companies through the launch of its new Boston-based East Coast Innovation Center, which expands on the company’s existing innovation sites across the globe.

Bayer, known for its work with cardiovascular disease and oncology, did not specify the type of work it would seek to focus on through its new innovation center, but the work would likely build upon its existing collaborations with other U.S. companies. Bayer has already established partnerships with such companies as American Association for Cancer Research and CRISPR Therapeutics. In its CRISPR deal, the two companies announced the creation of a joint venture to develop and commercialize new therapies to cure blood disorders, blindness and congenital heart disease. Bayer also struck a deal with Dimension Therapeutics to establish gene therapies for hemophilia A.

The Boston site, which the company planned in October, is the latest innovation center established by Bayer. The company currently has other sites including the U.S. Innovation Center in San Francisco and hubs in Berlin, Beijing, Osaka and Singapore. Each of those sites employs about 100 people. The new Bayer East Coast Innovation Center will anchor Bayer's presence and enable its teams to deepen relationships and opportunities to influence the discovery and development of new therapeutics, the company said in a statement.

"By complementing our own capabilities through alliances with excellent partners from industry and academia here in the region, we are well-positioned to translate our combined scientific know-how and research expertise into impactful solutions and medicines for patients,” Kemal Malik, a member of the Bayer Board of Management responsible for innovation, said in a statement.

Habib Dable, president of Bayer's U.S. pharmaceuticals division, said the company has a goal of building “productive and sustainable partnerships to advance new treatments that improve the lives of patients." The innovation hub will allow the company to work with scientists from large pharmaceutical companies, as well as clinicians, patent advocates and other players in the industry.

Bayer is not the only company to set up innovation centers and incubators in Boston. Earlier in March, Bristol-Myers Squibb inked a deal with LabCentral to support the launch two new life sciences and biotech companies in Kendall Square, the hub of the Boston-area pharmaceutical industry, through a “golden ticket” method. Under the agreement with LabCentral, a shared laboratory space designed to launch startups, Bristol-Myers can nominate up to two startup companies annually to take up residence in LabCentral’s Kendall Square space.

In addition to the companies, BMS will sponsor at LabCentral, the company is in the process of setting up its own state-of-the-art research facility in Kendall Square. The new site is expected to be open in early 2018.

Janssen, Inc., a division of Johnson & Johnson , has set up its JLABS incubator sites that focus on early stage bio/pharmaceutical, medical device, consumer and digital health programs. JLABS is part of Johnson & Johnson’s external R&D arm. The program provides a “capital-efficient, resource-rich environment where emerging companies can transform the scientific discoveries of today into the breakthrough healthcare products of tomorrow,” according to the JLABS website.

One of the reasons for the greater Boston area becoming such a major hub in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries is the plethora of research universities in the area. Boston also has one of the highest educated workforces in the nation. Not only are smaller companies calling the Boston area home, but many larger and established pharmaceutical companies, such as GlaxoSmithKline , Takeda Pharmaceuticals , Sanofi , Biogen Idec, Inc. and Novartis AG have presences in the city. The close proximity of so many pharmaceutical and university laboratories provides researchers and scientists easy access to clinical studies and building partnerships between companies.

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