Bayer acquires plant as Novartis plots MS strategy

Germany's Bayer has agreed to pay Novartis $110 million for a manufacturing plant that it uses to make the MS drug Betaseron along with $90 million for its inventory of the therapy. In the agreement, Novartis gets to sell its version of the therapy in two years, which Bayer will manufacture. Bayer plans to boost production and says it will save $159 million a year in royalty payments as it urges earlier use of the drug and produces an extra strength version for patients with a hard-to-treat form of the disease. Bayer acquired control of Betaseron when it bought Schering. For Novartis, the pact represents a chance to get into the MS market ahead of its experimental oral therapy, FTY720, which it plans to submit for approval in 2009.

- check out this release on the deal
- read the MarketWatch report