Bayer's chairman Marijn Dekkers says the company intends to continue with its three-pillar business of pharmaceuticals, crop science and material sciences.

Speaking to the Financial Times, he said that "we’ll stay with the three strategic groups as long as they are competitive in their particular areas”. He added that any acquisitions were most likely in crop sciences and material sciences would only be divested “if we wanted to do something so big that we had to use it as currency”.

As for pharmaceuticals, Dr Dekkers said he expects drugs to make up some 60% of total group sales. That growth is expected to be driven by Xarelto (rivaroxaban), Bayer's oral anticoagulant which is approved in Europe for preventing venous thromboembolism in patients undergoing hip or knee replacement surgery. However, last month Xarelto was filed in the USA and Europe for the much more lucrative indication of stroke prevention in patients with atrial fibrillation.

Dr Dekkers also told the FT about the need for greater rewards for innovation at a time when pharma is facing up to price cuts. “If society wants results, it needs to ensure creative effort will be rewarded,” he said. “Today it’s almost as though people are applauding when a drug loses its patent."