German pharma company Bayer has announced its acquisition of Asklepios BioPharmaceutical (AskBio), which specialises in the research, development and manufacturing of gene therapies.

AskBio’s development portfolio includes investigational pre-cliniacal and clinical stage candidates for the treatment of neuromuscular, central nervous system, cardiovascular and metabolic disease.

Following the completion of the company, Bayer will gain full rights to AskBio’s gene therapy platform, including a broad intellectual property portfolio and an established contract development and manufacturing organisation (CDMO).

Under the terms of the agreement, Bayer will pay an upfront consideration of $2bn and potential success-based milestone payments of up to a further $2bn.

According to Bayer, around 75% of the potential success-based milestone payments are expected to be due over the course of the next five years and the remaining amount late thereafter.

AskBio’s gene therapy platform includes a cell line manufacturing process and an extensive adeno-associated virus (AAV) capsid and promoter library.

The company has already generated hundreds of proprietary third generation AAV capsids and promoters that offer differentiation through potentially improved efficacy, immune response and tissue and organ specificity.

“As part of our strategy, we are building new therapeutic platforms including cell and gene therapies,” said Stefan Oelrich, member of the board of management, Bayer AG and lresident of the Bayer’s Pharmaceuticals Division.

“As an emerging leader in the rapidly advancing field of gene therapies, the expertise and portfolio of AskBio supports us in establishing highly innovative treatment options for patients and further strengthens our portfolio,” he added.