Bayer takes the lead in Bluerock stem cell joint venture

Bayer is planning on buying out private equity partner and founder Versant Ventures in its cell therapy joint venture BlueRock Therapeutics for $240m, three years since setting up the company. Other features of the deal include an additional $360m to Versant Ventures, related to various preclinical and early clinical development milestones across its pipeline products.

In total this agreement values BlueRock at around $1bn and
this will give Bayer complete control of BlueRocks pipeline headed by a product set to start clinical trials this year for treating Parkinson’s diseases.

BlueRock therapeutics was set up in 2016, with a $225m in start-up funding from Bayer and investment firm Versant. Bayer has since then held a 41% stake in the company, and this move to fully takeover indicates it is pleased by the progress that Bluerock has been making.

The exciting project work that is gathering interest from the industry is BlueRock’s progress in differentiating pluripotent stem cells into dopaminergic neurons that are progressively destroyed in Parkinson’s disease. With hopes that introducing these neurons into areas of the brain where neurons are depleted will lead to increased dopamine release, restoring motor function. BlueRock’s work is also leading into developing other pluripotent cells that can be used in the cardiology and immunology field.


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