Bayer Nuzzles Up Even Closer to UCSF, Strikes 10-Year Master R&D Agreement

Xconomy San Francisco — 

Bayer said last year it was moving into San Francisco’s Mission Bay district to be close to the big biology brains at UCSF, and now the German pharmaceutical giant is taking another step to weave itself into the local life sciences cluster by striking a 10-year master R&D agreement with the university.

The agreement establishes basic terms for the company and the university to collaborate on research projects, outlining principles of who owns the intellectual property, and how discoveries can get published in scientific journals. Financial terms of the new master agreement aren’t being disclosed. The company is announcing the new UCSF master agreement today at a grand opening ceremony at its new U.S. Innovation Center at 455 Mission Bay Boulevard South.

Bayer’s new relationship is the latest in a series of moves the university has made to forge closer ties with the pharmaceutical industry. The university, led by former Genentech president Susan Desmond-Hellmann, formed a five-year deal in November potentially worth $85 million from Pfizer to help promising biotech drug candidates make the leap from research to early development. While terms of the Bayer agreement aren’t being reported, UCSF researchers will be able to submit proposals and tap into a fund that’s structured in a similar way to the Pfizer fund, according to Bayer spokewoman Cathy Keck Anderson. Financial support from big drugmakers has become increasingly important on campus, as about four out of every five applications for federal research grants get turned down in the era of fierce competition and tight budgets.

The master agreement is the sort of thing that’s designed to speed up the legal process around setting up academic-industry collaborations around specific projects. Both sides say they hope to speed up the process of translating basic science into novel medicines that are supposed to make money and help patients.

“This agreement will help researchers at Bayer and UCSF collaborate on a broad range of projects to that end,” Desmond-Hellmann, UCSF’s chancellor, said in a statement.

Under the master agreement, Bayer will automatically get … Next Page »

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