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Yasmin and Mirena to take back seat from Bayer’s future drug strategy: GlobalData

The R&D setbacks in the women’s health space have ultimately led to Bayer refocussing its research efforts on oncology, cardiovascular disease, neurology, and rare diseases/immunology, areas considered to be of higher value

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German drugmaker Bayer recently announced that it will shift the focus of its drug research away from women’s health to four core therapeutic areas: oncology, cardiovascular, neurology, and rare diseases/immunology. In the women’s health space, the company has a presence with its Yasmin brand of birth-control pills and the intrauterine device Mirena. The news of a shift in its focus comes after the refinement of Bayer’s early innovation framework, where it decided to concentrate on the therapeutic areas with the best opportunities for delivering differentiated, high-value breakthrough medicines to patients, says GlobalData.

Amy Murray, Healthcare Analyst at GlobalData comments, “For nearly two decades, women’s health has been a traditional pillar of Bayer’s research and development, resulting in the company becoming one of world’s leading pharmaceutical specialists in this space. The acquisition of Schering Healthcare in 2006, provided Bayer with the oral contraceptive Yasmin and the intrauterine device Mirena, both of which are now top-selling pharmaceutical lines for Bayer, garnering sales of €790 million and €1.28 billion in 2022, respectively.”

Murray continues, “Despite women’s health making up a significant proportion of Bayers sales revenue, the company will no longer prioritise R&D investments in women’s health after its efforts have resulted in limited success and failed to meet investor expectations. An example of this is the discontinuation of Bayer’s Phase-II asset, eliapixant, which it co-developed with Evotec for the treatment of endometriosis as part of their five-year collaboration. Not only this, but this collaboration failed to reach its 5-year goal of developing three endometriosis treatment candidates, with only two successfully advancing to Phase-I development.”

The R&D setbacks in the women’s health space have ultimately led to Bayer refocussing its research efforts on oncology, cardiovascular disease, neurology, and rare diseases/immunology, areas considered to be of higher value.

Murray concludes, “While Yasmin and Mirena, along with several other of its women’s health products, will now take a back seat in the company’s future corporate drugs strategy, Bayer said that it is still committed to clinical-stage women’s health products, including elinzanetant, which aims to treat vasomotor symptoms during menopause. Bayer will also continue to pursue its two Phase I assets, BAY2328065 and BAY2395840, which it co-developed with Evotec for the treatment of endometriosis. While the company’s research efforts in immunology could still yield products in women’s health in the future, Bayer appears to be set on scaling back R&D in this area for now.”

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