Bayer: open innovation is all about partnerships and collaboration

In this age of rapid change, Bayer strives to be a world leader in delivering the best solutions to global challenges in the fields of health and nutrition.

“Open Innovation at Bayer is all about partnerships and collaboration. However, there are different ways to do it. We proactively seek strategic alliances in research and development and are part of innovation networks with external partners, mainly from the academic community,” explains Eike Kingsepp, corporate communication manager for the Baltic countries.

“This includes research partnerships with the Broad Institute or Vanderbilt in pharma or Texas Tech University in crop science. Built on contracts, these partnerships precisely define the goals and the scope of specific research projects. This allows us to pursue highly complex and innovative projects that single partners might not have been able to move forward with. Our alliance management consists of core groups in several parts of our business, such as research and early development, as well as group in late development,” she adds.

We collaborate with the world’s brightest minds to co-create and develop innovative solutions.

At Bayer it is recognized that innovation cannot be done alone. “This is why we collaborate with the world’s brightest minds to co-create and develop innovative solutions in pharmaceuticals, consumer health and crop science. We are doing this by tapping into the world’s growing ecosystem of open innovation, which provides fertile ground to collectively explore, discover, test and co-create customer-focused solutions. Our focus is on research and development, digital solutions for operations and completely new business models,” says Kingsepp.

In-licensing, crowdsourcing and ventures

Another part of the Open Innovation land-scape is in-licensing activities. “We access intellectual property, knowledge, com-pounds or technology in order to broaden and enhance our own innovation capabilities. But active scouting of partners, intellectual property or assets is just one side of Bayer’s Open Innovation approach. The other side is crowdsourcing, co-working and even co-creation with externals,” says Kingsepp.

With the G4A family, Bayer offers a wide variety of funding programs for entrepreneurs, start-up companies or scientists. Estonian Medikeep – a mobile app for home pharmacy inventory with an intelligent reminder system – is one of the graduates of Bayer ́s G4A accelerator program.

“We provide funding and encourage them to bring in their expertise and knowledge, be it new targets for drug development and crop protection, new indications, new seed products or digital solutions. We are also very keen on working with innovators from all over the world. Therefore, we also offer free co-working spaces and lab spaces in cities like Berlin, San Francisco, Tokyo, Moscow, Barcelona or Singapore,” she says.

The common goal is to develop ultimate breakthroughs in life sciences in the long run

“We want to drive disruptive technologies in the fields of human, plant and animal sciences. This is another part of our open innovation strategy. With the Bayer Life Science Center we developed a unique venture approach for biotechnology. We create joint ventures with other companies and provide them with the required capital, time, tools and instrumental IP. This means that we are increasing the level of trust by sharing Bayer’s valuable IP, expertise and network capabilities and by providing active build-up support over a long duration. The common goal is to develop ultimate breakthroughs in life sciences in the long run,” says Kingsepp.