Is it human, animal or plant? At Bayer, they're mixing all three in new R&D recipe

Can a crop science team of ag-bio investigators provide some real insights that could help advance new drugs for humans and animals? Bayer believes so, and one of its top researchers says you can expect to see the first tangible fruits of its hybrid R&D effort in the next few years.

Wolfgang Plischke, the outgoing tech/innovation chief at Bayer, told Reuters that "we expect it to be reflected in our pipeline in the next two, three, four, five years." "It" is Nimbus, a two-year-old project in which Bayer is bringing together researchers involved in crop science and human and animal drug development under one roof--even as the industry continues to segregate the fields.

Bayer decided to launch Nimbus back in 2011, committing a bit more than $40 million a year to the project. While the final products may vary, Bayer believes that basic insights into switching genes on and off or transporting active ingredients into cells spans all three disciplines and that researchers can learn from each other.

Regardless of its unique effort at integrating research, Bayer has already posted some significant gains in recent years with an R&D budget of about $4 billion a year. The company won a key approval for the prostate cancer drug Xofigo, which it now controls completely after the $2.9 billion acquisition of Algeta. The approval builds on earlier successes for Stivarga and Nexavar, now partnered with Amgen ($AMGN).

- here's the story from Reuters