Bayer to Spend $1 Billion on US Drug R&D

16.03.2023 - Bayer is looking to spend $1 billion on drug research and development in the United States during 2023 as part of a plan to double its sales in the country by the end of the decade.

The German group has increased the number of US employees working in pharmaceutical marketing by around 50% over the past three years and wants to expand that by a further 75% up to 2030, US pharma chief Sebastian Guth said in an interview with Reuters.

Even before tapping pharma industry veteran and US native Bill Anderson as chief executive to succeed Werner Baumann, executives were making noises about shifting the Leverkusen-based conglomerate’s drugs focus toward North America, and market watchers expect this focus to strengthen.

"It's time for us to double down on the US," Guth told the news agency, adding that Bayer plans to market the drugs it is developing in the country under its own name, rather than partner with US companies as it has in the past.

In a talk with UK business newspaper Financial Times on the sidelines of the JP Morgan health conference in San Francisco earlier this year, Bayer Healthcare chief and managing board member Stefan Oelrich said the venerable German drugmaker is increasingly shifting the commercial focus of its pharmaceutical business away from Europe and toward the US and China.

Up to now, however, the talk up about jumping ship from its traditional home base to other continents up to now has centred mainly on drugmakers’ discontent with European public healthcare regulators’ and insurers’ curbs on prices rather than R&D.

In the US, Oelrich, said in January that higher prices serve to compensate for the explosion of costs caused by high inflation, although President Joe Biden’s emphasis on bring prices down could now cause consternation.

This month, under White House pressure, two insulin makers, Eli Lilly and NovoNordisk, agreed to drop their prices by as much as 70%.

Speaking to Reuters last week, Guth said Bayer expects that more than half of its projected peak sales of €12 billion from cancer drug Nubeqa and kidney medication Kerendia, as well as stroke treatment asundexian and women's health drug elinzanetant, could be rung up in the US market.

Author: Dede Williams, Freelance Journalist