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

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a license to use certain intellectual property from UCSF for research and development purposes, Anderson says. The company also has first right of refusal to negotiate for a license to commercialize UCSF intellectual property resulting from a collaboration, she says.

The company has its strategic reasons for wanting to get closer to what’s happening at UCSF Mission Bay. Like everyone else in Big Pharma, it needs to create innovative new medicines with long-lasting patent protection if it wants to continue to grow in an era when many hit drugs of the past are facing competition from cheap generics. “Bayer chose San Francisco as the site for its U.S. Innovation Center because of the leading role this area’s research community plays in life science discovery,” said Andreas Fibig, chairman of the board of management for Bayer’s pharmaceutical division, in a statement.

Back in May, Bayer said it planned to move its 65-member research team from Richmond, CA, to the Mission Bay area of San Francisco, a move that was touted by San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom as a milestone for the city and region. Newsom, who’s now moving on to become Lieutenant Governor, described the master agreement between Bayer and UCSF in even broader terms. “As California works on its recovery, life science partnerships that begin at the research bench will lead to long-term economic stability for our region,” Newsom said in a Bayer statement.

Of course, research collaborations between academia and industry have been known to cause tensions on both sides through the years. One such tussle spilled out into public view last fall when the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute contended in a federal lawsuit that it wrongly licensed a potential cancer drug to a Bay Area biotech startup, Gatekeeper Pharmaceuticals. The institute said the intellectual property in question should have been awarded to Novartis, a longtime backer of Dana-Farber.

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