Bayer hires former J&J executive for more pharma deals

FILE PHOTO: A bridge is decorated with the logo of a Bayer AG, a German pharmaceutical and chemical maker in Wuppertal, Germany August 9, 2019. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Bayer BAYGn.DE said it hired Johnson & Johnson JNJ.N executive Marianne De Backer to manage acquisitions and licensing deals at its drugs unit, as the German drugmaker turns to outside sources to boost its development pipeline.

De Backer will take the role of Head of Business Development & Licensing at Bayer’s pharmaceuticals division, joining from rival J&J, where she lead business development activities across different therapeutic areas and regions.

Based in Berkeley, California, the Belgian national will have a more senior role than her predecessor, reporting directly to the head of pharmaceuticals, Stefan Oelrich, and taking a seat on the division’s Executive Committee.

Bayer said last year it would lean more strongly on external firms and institutions for a better drug development pipeline, which most analysts regard as too thin to make up for an expected decline in revenues from its two pharma bestsellers from about 2024.

Bayer has recently agreed deals to sell a stake in a chemical park operator, consumer health brands Dr. Scholl’s and Coppertone, as well as its animal health unit in a bid to reduce the debt burden from its $63 billion takeover of Monsanto.

Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Thomas Seythal