Research-stage deals don’t come richer than Bayer’s Vividion buyout


Acquisition, licensing or research collaboration, deals of any structure over preclinical projects rarely attract the sort of initial payment that Bayer is shelling out for Vividion. That said, the platform company boasts a novel small molecule-generating technology with broad applicability, including in the hot protein degradation space, which has seen similarly focused developers attract multibillion-dollar valuations. And Bayer also had to convince Vividion that its offer was better than the IPO that was under way. A search of Evaluate Pharma finds no other transaction since at least 2015 concerning a preclinical company or asset that comes anywhere close to Bayer's $1.5bn up front. The closest is Celgene’s $625m buy of Engmab, a Swiss group working on T-cell engagers, a deal that appears to be the source of CC-93269, an anti-BCMA project that impressed at Ash in 2019. Roivant’s $450m swoop – albeit in stock – on the computational physics-based company Silicon Therapeutics was designed to bolster its own protein-degradation platform. The only non-buyout that features high on the list is Biogen’s antisense collaboration with Ionis, which included a $650 equity investment, taking the big biotech’s initial outlay to $1bn.

Paying up for early-stage science: research deals with big up fronts 
Target  Acquirer Deal Type Year  Up-front fee ($m) Total deal value ($m)
Vividion Bayer Company acquisition 2021 1,500 2,000
Engmab Celgene Company acquisition 2016 625 3,100
Silicon Therapeutics Roivant Sciences Company acquisition 2021 450* Undisclosed additional milestones
Nimbus Apollo Gilead Sciences Business unit acquisition 2016 400 1,200
Ionis Pharmaceuticals Biogen 10-year research collaboration 2018 375 1,270
*Paid in Roivant stock. Source: Evaluate Pharma.

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