Bayer buys biopharma firm Vividion Therapeutics for up to $2 billion

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The historic headquarters of German pharmaceutical and chemical maker Bayer AG is pictured in Leverkusen

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Bayer on Thursday said it acquired U.S.-based biopharmaceuticals company Vividion Therapeutics for up to $2 billion to boost its ability to discover new treatments and lift the value of its drug pipeline.

The deal, expected to close during the third quarter, includes a $1.5 billion upfront payment as well as possible milestone payments of up to $500 million, the agriculture and pharmaceuticals group said in a statement.

"Identification of drug candidates for proteins that are considered undruggable is a great challenge in drug discovery," Bayer said.

"Vividion's technology is the most advanced in the industry, and it has demonstrated its ability to identify drug candidates that can target challenging proteins," Bayer board member Stefan Oelrich said.

About 90% of proteins that cause diseases cannot be targeted by current therapies, Vividion CEO Jeff Hatfield said.

Bayer was advised by Credit Suisse and Baker McKenzie on the transaction, while Centerview Partners and Cooley LLP served as advisors to Vividion.

(Reporting by Christoph Steitz; editing by Barbara Lewis)

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