For the long term, we need to think big
The scale of our mission requires an entirely new approach that goes beyond conventional limits of the healthcare and agriculture industries. Thinking long term, we increase by orders of magnitude the levels of investment, risk, and trust involved. We not only invest heavily in a few key areas (DNA editing, microbiome, RNA inhibition, RNA activation, cell stem therapy), but we also actively help build up young biotech companies.
The type of large-scale innovation we are going for requires enormous investment in terms of both money and time. Current industry convention blocks innovation with a scattered IP landscape and missing regulatory incentives, failing to produce scientific breakthroughs of this magnitude. VCs, on the other hand, typically invest for a (too) short amount of time in order to generate short-term returns.
Our initial financial investments worth USD 575 million – invested in joint ventures Casebia Therapeutics and BlueRock Therapeutics over a period of a minimum of four to five years – have been some of the biggest ever made in the life sciences – and we are only just beginning.
Higher investments over a longer period of time
We collaborate with the world’s smartest minds in biotech by directly conducting a small number of medium to very large equity investments over a minimum time of four to five years, most likely much longer.
Unlike the typical series A logic, in which new companies are forced to focus on rapid results for follow-up funding, our initial funding allows chosen ventures to keep the focus on their target for years.
Our long-term investments do not follow direct monetization goals or demand accelerated innovation cycles for quick returns. Rather than return on investment, our primary measure of success is what we call the “return for humanity.” We are convinced that once we achieve a leap that significantly improves life on the planet financial reward will follow.
Higher risk by investing more in less
High risk is traditionally mitigated through diversification. We believe, however, that investing heavily in a few carefully chosen technologies, challenges, and ventures is the only way to retain the necessary focus to achieve breakthroughs.
Through our investments, we form targeted collaborations and new ventures with the world’s smartest teams, lift their talent toward a greater purpose, and maximize the probability of success.
We give global talent the platform to aim higher for the life sciences’ ultimate breakthroughs: targeting cures, not treatments. The result is a “collective evolution” in the life sciences that turns competitors into allies. Together, we are united in the battle against humanity’s real opponents.
Each of the partners is focused on one of five key areas (DNA editing, microbiome, RNA inhibition, RNA activation, stem cell therapy) that have been identified to provide a slim chance of achieving the ten initial leaps.
Greater trust that drives knowledge exchange
With each new partner, we enter into agreements that allow for the exchange of proprietary assets, including sharing our own patents. We also provide access to the Bayer network’s technical capabilities and 150 years of expertise.
Even though all companies we partner with remain autonomous with respect to decision-making, we build our relationship from start to finish, facilitating and supporting them in a process we call “active incubation.” Experienced team members keep actively engaging in the young companies’ development by providing resources and steering toward an initial strategic direction. By setting up equal partnerships with substantial series A–size investments, both parties are incentivized to succeed.
We expect regulatory challenges: all groundbreaking technologies and breakthrough solutions will face strict checks and potential pitfalls. We must expect public scrutiny and, potentially, resistance; working on the edge of what’s possible will always run this risk. Moving forward, Leaps by Bayer will invite the scientific community, interdisciplinary experts, and other thought leaders to enter into open dialogue in relation to its financial and collaborative model, applied technologies, and breakthrough targets.