September 5, 2018 / 1:56 PM / 2 months ago

Bayer open for drug licensing deals, cutting debt remains priority

FILE PHOTO: The corporate logo of Bayer is seen at the headquarters building in Caracas May 6, 2015. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins/File Photo

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Bayer is ready to spend money on more drug licensing agreements like last year’s deal with Loxo Oncology but its priority is to reduce debt after the takeover of Monsanto.

“If a Loxo (type) opportunity came about we would of course jump on it and we would certainly have the financial means to secure such an asset. We’ve also talked about stepping up our efforts in business development and licensing in order to complement our own internal R&D efforts,” Chief Executive Werner Baumann told analyst in a conference call.

“The funding that is needed is available to the company … We would have, if need be, a little bit of debt capacity but clearly our focus is first of all on delevering,” he added.

Bayer, which reported quarterly earnings on Wednesday, is in the midst of an overhaul of its drug research and development activities that could result in job cuts as it faces calls to beef up its development pipeline.

Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Edward Taylor

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