Bayer Gears Up to Ramp Up US Pharma R&D in 2023

Bayer is making a major commitment to the United States, dedicating an impressive $1 billion investment to pharmaceutical R&D in 2023. This infusion of capital will substantially enhance the company’s already robust research and development efforts in the US.

The past five years have seen a steady decline in the company’s stock price, settling around $15 per share as of Thursday. However, when compared to other pharmaceutical giants such as Pfizer, Novartis and Sanofi, who are all trading at least double that price, there is a significant opportunity for growth.

Sebastian Guth, president of Bayer’s pharmaceutical business in the Americas, has called for an increased focus on the United States. In an interview with Reuters Wednesday, Guth urged for a “doubling down” on the U.S. to strengthen its position in the global market.

In a statement emailed to BioSpace Thursday, Bayer’s Global Pharmaceuticals Division CEO, Stefan O. Guth, reaffirmed the company’s commitment to the U.S. market, citing it as a “cornerstone” of its global pharma business.

Our pharmaceutical sales in North America are growing rapidly, currently accounting for an impressive 25% of our global total. We anticipate an even greater acceleration in the U.S. market in the near future.

Bayer has suffered tremendous losses since their purchase of St. Louis-based Monsanto in 2018. Despite paying $63 billion for the business, Bayer was hit with a $10 billion settlement for over 42,000 lawsuits concerning the weed killer Roundup. This has been an expensive and challenging lesson for Bayer.

Shareholder confidence in Bayer CEO Werner Baumann has been shaken, leading to his premature retirement from the company in May – two years prior to the completion of his contract. Taking his place will be industry veteran Bill Anderson, who previously served as CEO of Roche’s pharmaceutical division and held leadership roles at Genentech and Biogen.

Bayer is expanding their portfolio of new drugs and taking their products straight to the U.S. market. According to CEO Werner Guth, the company is no longer relying on a U.S. partner to sell their drugs, but are taking the initiative and bringing their products to consumers directly. This move marks a major shift in Bayer’s drug distribution strategy and could bring about exciting changes for the future.

Asundexian has recently taken the first steps towards its potential approval as a treatment for atrial fibrillation and non-cardioembolic ischemic stroke with the launch of Phase III studies. With promising results in earlier stages, this innovative therapy is well on its way to transforming the way these conditions are treated.

Despite showing promise in a Phase II study, the factor XIa inhibitor ultimately failed to meet its endpoint.

It’s a race to the finish line between Bayer’s experimental elinzanetant and Astellas Pharma’s menopause drug – both vying to be the first-in-class, non-hormonal option to treat hot flashes and night sweats. Whoever makes it over the finish line first will be the winner, providing a much-needed relief for women suffering from menopause symptoms.

Hormone therapies remain the go-to treatment for vasomotor symptoms; however, this course of action carries considerable risk, including increased chances of developing blood clots, heart attacks, strokes and even breast cancer in some cases.

In a tight race to the finish line, Astellas and Bayer are both vying for the lead in Phase III. In March 2022, Astellas reported positive clinical data, giving them a slight edge. However, Bayer responded with a strategic move, launching an extra study for elinzanetant to assess its potential in treating breast cancer patients and women with high risk of breast cancer who are experiencing vasomotor symptoms due to endocrine therapy. While this target population may be smaller than that of Astellas, it could give Bayer the winning edge.

Bayer has seen a massive surge in the number of its U.S. pharmaceutical marketing employees over the past three years, with the headcount doubling since then. The company looks to further expand its workforce in this field by a whopping 75% by 2030.

Bayer’s cancer drug Nubeqa, kidney medicine Kerendia, as well as the potential treatments asundexian and elinzanetant, could generate up to 12 billion euros in peak sales, with roughly half of that coming from U.S. sales, according to estimates by analyst Peter Guth.

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