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Bayer Seeks Early-Stage Kidney, Ophthalmology Drugs

Bayer AG is seeking to license experimental drugs in the early stages of development to treat chronic kidney illnesses, eye conditions and cancer, an executive said.

Licensing drugs, rather than acquiring a company outright, helps to keep the innovative spirit in drug development, said Helmut Haning, Bayer HealthCare’s senior vice president of global drug discovery, in an interview at the BIO-Europe conference in Dusseldorf, Germany. Bayer, based in Leverkusen, also is seeking drugs for use in cardiology and gynecology.

“It’s not very difficult to find early-stage cancer assets, but it’s difficult to find good ones,” said Haning. “If you find a really good one you are competing with a half dozen companies. The competition is fierce.”

Bayer has had success acquiring the rights to cancer drugs from smaller companies. Alpharadin, licensed in 2009 from Algeta ASA, prolonged the lives of men with prostate cancer that has spread to their bones, a study found last month. In general medicine, the company also is seeking treatments in the later stages of development such as antibiotics and drugs for kidney and lung diseases, said Berthold Hinzen, head of Bayer’s global business development general medicine.

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