WHIPPANY, N.J. and BASEL, Switzerland, Nov. 29, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The 2016 joint venture between Bayer and CRISPR Therapeutics has been named the winner of the 2016 Dive Awards: Most Valuable Pharma Deal of the Year by BioPharma Dive, a leading industry news publisher. The joint venture, called Casebia Therapeutics and originally announced in December 2015, focuses on using CRISPR/Cas-9 technology to develop breakthrough therapeutics for blood disorders, blindness and congenital heart disease.
"Bayer's alignment with CRISPR Therapeutics gives further gravity to the CRISPR/Cas-9 technology and shows big pharma's emphasis on innovation," said Lisa LaMotta, senior editor, BioPharma Dive. While other pharma mergers and acquisitions this year may have involved more cash, the unconventional structure of this venture, as well as its prioritization of technological innovation, made the deal a clear standout in 2016. "Through Casebia Therapeutics, we remain dedicated to our ambitious mandate of unlocking the possibilities of gene editing to cure diseases," said Dr. Axel Bouchon, head of the Bayer Lifescience Center and a member of the Board of Directors of Casebia Therapeutics. "We are honored to be recognized by BioPharma Dive for the creation of Casebia, a deal which combined the most promising gene editing technology on the market at CRISPR Therapeutics with Bayer's expertise in protein engineering and in-depth knowledge of target disease areas." "We appreciate the industry recognition for the value of this really innovative partnership between CRISPR Therapeutics and Bayer," said Rodger Novak, chief executive officer of CRISPR Therapeutics and a member of the Board of Directors of Casebia Therapeutics. "The corporate and business model we have employed to set up Casebia is unique. With our most recent appointment of Jim Burns as CEO of Casebia, we have now the elite leadership in place needed to prudently translate the CRISPR-Cas9 technology into valuable clinical stage assets." The 2016 Dive Awards recognize the industry's top disruptors and innovators. From Company of the Year to Obsession of the Year, BioPharma Dive solicited suggestions for title nominees from its 22,000 readers. With the help of a panel of industry insiders, winners were chosen by the editors of BioPharma Dive based on resonance and industry impact.