Bayer taps the Broad Institute for cardio R&D

Bayer is deepening its ties with Harvard and MIT's Broad Institute, delving into cardiovascular genomics in hopes of spotlighting new therapeutic approaches to deadly diseases.

Under the partnership, Bayer will look to Broad and its extensive expertise in genomic analysis for clues to the relationship between certain genes and elevated risk of cardiovascular disease. The majority of cardio ailments are the result of lifestyle decisions, but in-born factors can have profound effects on predisposition, severity and age of onset, the pair said. By better understanding the interplay between genetics and outcomes, Bayer and Broad hope to open up new avenues for drug development.

The plan is to establish joint steering and research committees to oversee the project, the pair said, starting with genetic discovery work and moving into target validation and early-stage drug development. Neither side is disclosing financial terms.

Bayer's latest deal with Broad comes on the heels of a 2013 tie-up in which the partners took a similar genomic approach to oncology. Under that ongoing collaboration, the two organizations are working to ferret out targeted therapies that can home in on particular gene mutations that associated with cancer, with Bayer holding on to the right to license any resulting compounds.

Broad, established in 2004 to make waves in genomics, has kept an open door to the world's biggest drugmakers, partnering up to lend out its know-how with the goal of speeding along new therapeutics. The Cambridge, MA, organization has joined forces with Pfizer ($PFE), Merck KGaA, Google's ($GOOG) Calico and a host of innovators in industry and academia, collaborating in cancer, infectious disease, autoimmune research and other areas.

- read the announcement