Bayer, Boston academics form joint lab to research lung disease

Bayer, Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have teamed up to work on treatments for chronic lung diseases. The partners will work out of a joint lab located at BWH in Boston that will receive more than $30 million over the next five years.

At the joint lab, more than 20 people from the three organizations will work in combined teams. Bayer will contribute people with drug discovery and development skills to the collaboration. BWH and MGH will contribute people with potentially complementary clinical expertise and knowledge of disease mechanisms. Bayer, BWH and MGH will share any research findings equally. 

Bayer and its partners have identified four people involved in the initiative. Edwin Silverman and Bruce Levy are representing BWH. MGH has put Benjamin Medoff forward, while Bayer is contributing the expertise of Markus Koch, who heads up its preclinical research into lung diseases. 

The initiative builds on Bayer’s years of experience operating joint labs. In 2013, Bayer formed an immuno-oncology lab with the German Cancer Research Center. More recently, Bayer set up its first joint lab in Boston, paving the way for the collaboration with BWH and MGH. 

Bayer’s new partners have bought into the joint lab concept.

"We strongly believe that this model will significantly accelerate the pace of discovery toward the goal of getting new therapies from the lab to patients safely and efficiently," Paul Anderson, BWH’s chief academic officer, said in a statement. "This collaboration provides the opportunity to integrate novel findings directly into the drug development pipeline, thus speeding up the time to move a new treatment into the clinic."   

The collaboration continues Bayer’s Boston expansion. Earlier this year, Bayer detailed plans to set up in Kendall Square, giving it lab and office space in a biotech hot spot. That commitment followed the 2018 creation of a joint lab with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard focused on cardiovascular diseases.