Bayer moves 400 R&D jobs to CRO-run small molecules unit

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Bayer touted the move as its contribution to a “strengthening healthcare cluster in Berlin” and a way to keep “significant research activities” close to its pharmaceuticals division, which is headquartered there as well. (IHG)

Back in 2018, Bayer mulled outsourcing R&D as part of a greater restructuring. Now, the company is pulling the trigger on that plan, transferring 400 staffers to a “full-fledged research center” to be set up by Nuvisan, a German CRO, in Berlin. 

The site will focus on small molecule research spanning the drug discovery cycle, from lead discovery and medicinal chemistry to investigational toxicology and animal management. The duo did not reveal financial details but said the deal is slated to close by the middle of this year. 

Leverkusen, Germany-based Bayer touted the move as its contribution to a “strengthening healthcare cluster in Berlin” and a way to keep “significant research activities” close to its pharmaceuticals division, which is headquartered there as well. It will also “support Bayer’s increased focus on the flexibility and productivity of its R&D operating model,” the company said in a statement on Tuesday. 

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RELATED: Bayer moves to refocus on its core pharma R&D, cutting 900 research jobs 

In November 2018, Bayer announced it would restructure its pharma R&D and consumer health operations in a move that would refocus assets to its core life science businesses over the coming years. The plan included exiting the animal health sector and reallocating its investments in that area toward its core businesses of pharma, consumer health and crop science, following its massive $66 billion acquisition of agrochemical giant Monsanto this year. It also dropped its Coppertone sun care and Dr. Scholl’s consumer brands. 

All told, the company will cut 12,000 jobs across the company, including about 900 of its 8,000 R&D positions. That’s on top of 350 staffers connected to Bayer’s factor VIII facility in Wuppertal, Germany, which it closed due to increasing competition in the hemophilia treatment market. The company will produce all of its recombinant factor VIII at a site in Berkeley, California. 

“With these measures, we are positioning Bayer optimally for the future as a life science company,” said Bayer Chairman and CEO Werner Baumann at the time.

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