UPDATE 2-Bayer buys German biotech Direvo for 210 mln eur

Tue Sep 16, 2008 6:42am EDT

(Adds share price)

FRANKFURT, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Bayer BAYG.DE has agreed to acquire German drug developer Direvo Biotech AG for 210 million euros ($294.3 million) to strengthen its research into biological drugs.

The deal is expected to close by the end of the month, Bayer said in a statement on Tuesday.

Bayer, which transformed its healthcare arm by taking over rival Schering for 16 billion euros in 2006, said recently it planned to make smaller acquisitions this year to complement its drugs business. Direvo develops proteins for drug use, such as antibodies, using automated processes.

"We are committed to further strengthen our biologicals portfolio, and Direvo's leadership in protein engineering provides promising opportunities for further business growth," said Bayer HealthCare head Arthur Higgins.

Bayer also won approval in Canada for its experimental blood-thinning pill Xarelto for the prevention of blood clots after knee- or hip-replacement surgery, it said in a separate statement on Tuesday.

The regulatory clearance, Xarelto's first, allows Bayer to bring the pill to the Canadian market immediately, the company added.

Bayer also said it expects Xarelto to secure European Union approval for surgery-related blood clot prevention "very soon".

Shares of Bayer were 1.79 percent higher at 56.94 euros by 1027 GMT, while the German benchmark DAX index .GDAXI was down 1.55 percent.

The drugmaker announced on July 25 that Xarelto was recommended by the European Medicines Agency, whose assessments guide the European Commission's approval decisions.

Bayer, which is developing Xarelto jointly with U.S. partner Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N), expects to generate up to 2 billion euros per year from the pill, making it its most promising drug alongside cancer treatment Nexavar. (Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Quentin Bryar and David Cowell)