Bayer starts research collaboration with Italian biotech company in the field of post-genomics

Bayer's Italian research unit to be integrated into newly founded biotech company Axxam


Leverkusen – Bayer has entered a collaboration with Axxam S.r.l., a newly formed Italian biotechnology company, in the field of post-genomics with the objective of developing several technology platforms for modern drug discovery. The results of genome research are thus used to develop biological test systems. Bayer has agreed to integrate its Italian research unit – at the San Raffaele Biomedical Science Park in Milan – into Axxam. The objective of the agreement is to further increase and strengthen Bayer's activities in the drug discovery process.

By integrating its research group into the new company, Bayer will obtain a minority stake in Axxam's capital. Both companies have also signed a parallel five-year research deal valued at EUR 30 million, on the basis of which Axxam will develop for Bayer a new generation of highly advanced assay systems to be used at Bayer's UHTS (ultra-high-throughput screening) unit for drug discovery. The aim of this partnership is to build an ideal link between Bayer's excellent genomics platform and the lead identification program, which allows to test up to 200,000 compounds per day in a highly automated process. This collaboration probably represents the most important deal ever in the Italian biotech industry.

As Professor Wolfgang Hartwig, Head of Pharmaceutical Research at Bayer, pointed out, "The collaboration guarantees us continuing high-performance assay development, and in addition we can participate in the new scientific outcomes of Axxam at an early stage. The new company fits perfectly in our renowned technology platform strategy which gives Bayer access to leading technologies in the drug discovery process."

Dr. Stefan Lohmer, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Axxam, stated, "Modern biosciences hold an enormous potential for innovation which we can use in a very efficient and highly customized way. We can provide new ideas and excellent technologies in the fields of genomics and assay development which will significantly accelerate the drug discovery process. We are delighted to be part of Bayer's well-known and reputable drug discovery platform."

Axxam is a technology-oriented research biotech company with leading expertise, know-how and cutting-edge technologies for target validation and for development of advanced screening assay systems (UHTS format). The company is located at the prestigious San Raffaele Biomedical Science Park in Milan, one of the largest and most advanced Italian biomedical and biotechnological research institutes. The personnel comprises 40 research scientists and laboratory technicians who already have experience in the field, but an increase to the head count and instrumentation and technology capacity is expected in the next few years. The company's management team comprises the two co-founders, Dr. Stefan Lohmer, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, formerly Head of the Bayer Research Unit at San Raffaele and formerly Head of Bayer's international genomic research, and Dr. Alessandro Sidoli, Chief Operating Officer, formerly Head of Biotechnology Transfer at San Raffaele and founder of Primm, an Italian biotechnology company started in 1990 and one of Italy's successful examples of biotech start-ups.

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