Bayer says drug research focus no longer on women’s health


Bayer says drug research focus no longer on women’s health

By Ludwig Burger and Patricia Weiss

FRANKFURT, March 24 (Reuters) – Bayer (BAYGn.DE) said the focus of its drug research would shift away from women’s health, a traditional pillar of Germany’s largest drugmaker, to hone in on neurology, rare diseases and immunology.

“When it comes to research and the subsequent clinical phases, we will no longer have an explicit focus on women’s health,” the head of Bayer’s pharmaceuticals unit, Stefan Oelrich, told Reuters on Friday. Bayer, the maker of the Yasmin brand of birth-control pills and the Mirena intrauterine device, added it would nevertheless continue to pursue the development of non-hormonal menopausal symptoms relief elinzanetant as one of its four most promising pharma products.

The shifted focus comes as Bayer is due to have a change at the top in June. Incoming CEO Bill Anderson will have to deal with thousands of lawsuits claiming the Roundup weedkiller causes cancer, an underwhelming drug development pipeline and disgruntled investors looking for a strategic change.

Bayer, which acquired a large women’s health business under the 2006 takeover of Schering Pharma, will focus drugs research on oncology, cardiovascular disease, neurology, rare diseases and immunology, the company said in a statement.

A string of recent deals to become a major player in cell and gene therapy has resulted in a bigger role for neurology, rare diseases and immunology, Oelrich added.

Research efforts in immunology could still yield products in women’s health but Bayer’s dedicated work on the therapeutic area overall had fallen short of expectations, he said.

Reporting by Ludwig Burger, editing by Kirsti Knolle and Louise Heavens

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Source: Reuters