With the acquisition, Bayer will obtain full rights to Vividion’s discovery platform that includes chemoproteomic screening technology, an integrated data portal and a chemistry library

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Bayer Pharmaceuticals headquarters in Berlin-Wedding. (Credit: Fridolin freudenfett/Wikipedia.)

Bayer has acquired US-based biopharmaceutical company Vividion Therapeutics for an upfront consideration of $1.5bn and potential milestone payments of up to $500m.

Vividion is engaged in developing precision small molecule therapies for traditionally undruggable oncology and immunology targets, by leveraging novel discovery technologies.

Its lead programmes include NRF2 antagonist for the potential treatment of NRF2 mutant cancers, along with NRF2 activators for various inflammatory diseases, among others.

With the acquisition, the German pharmaceutical company obtains full rights to Vividion’s discovery platform.

The platform comprises a novel chemoproteomic screening technology, an integrated data portal and an exclusive chemistry library.

Bayer said that the acquisition will strengthen its small molecule capabilities and expands its reach into new modalities.

Bayer pharmaceuticals division president Stefan Oelrich said: “This acquisition is a cornerstone of our strategy to fuel our pipeline with breakthrough innovation.

“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.”

According to Bayer, the identification of drug candidates for proteins that are considered undruggable is a major challenge in drug discovery.

Vividion’s chemoproteomic screening platform is capable of identifying previously unknown binding pockets by screening chemical probes against the entire human proteome, said Bayer.

The pre-clinical studies in oncology and immune-related diseases have confirmed the technology’s applicability, which also has the potential to expand into additional indications.

Vividion is planned to continue its operations as an independent entity and will benefit from the experience, infrastructure and reach of Bayer to advance its technology and portfolio.

The transaction is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2021, subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of the required regulatory approvals.

Credit Suisse served as a financial advisor and Baker McKenzie as legal counsel to Bayer, while Centerview Partners served as a financial advisor and Cooley as legal counsel to Vividion on the transaction.

Vividion CEO Jeff Hatfield said: “Despite advances in genomics, structural biology and high-throughput screening, about 90% of disease-causing proteins cannot be targeted by current therapies due to the lack of a known addressable binding site.

“Our proprietary chemoproteomic platform technology addresses the key limitations of conventional screening techniques and allows us to discover previously unknown, or cryptic, functional pockets on the surface of proteins and identify small molecules that selectively bind to those targets.

“When combined with Bayer’s expertise in the development of small molecules to market and patient, an unparalleled position comes into existence to unlock undruggable targets and generate first-in-class novel compounds for the benefit of patients.”