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Bayer-CuraGen: Gambling They Can Improve the Odds

Executive Summary

Rather than spending to build the requisite infrastructure for a small-molecule program, CuraGen decided to partner, with Bayer, in a deal targeting metabolic disorders. But merely licensing out its small-molecule targets for current cash sells the future short which is why CuraGen was willing to forego cash payments in its deal. Instead, CuraGen is providing a capped $590 million in unreimbursed value to the program in return for what could be up to 44% of the profits from any one product. The only Bayer cash going into CuraGen's pocket is $135 million (albeit mostly equity) from a separate pharmacogenomics/toxicogenomics deal, without which it's questionable whether CuraGen could have afforded the Bayer alliance or whether Bayer itself would have agreed to it. The key point: Bayer aims to use the CuraGen pharmacogenomics technology to increase the predictability of its entire R&D effort and was thus willing to forego a significant piece of the end proceeds from the metabolic disease program.

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