Bayer’s, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical and biotech companies, has announced to shift its focus from women’s health to four different therapeutic areas: oncology, cardiovascular, neurology, and rare diseases/immunology. While this shift may surprise some, it is not entirely unexpected as the company has recently faced various struggles in the field of women’s health. So why did Bayer choose to move away from this area, and what can primary market research companies learn from this? Keep reading this article to learn more.

Bayer’s and the Global Women’s Health Market

Bayer’s history in women’s health began with its acquisition of Schering Healthcare in 2006, where it inherited Yasmin and Mirena, two of the most successful contraceptive products on the women’s health market. Since then, the company has made a series of takeovers and collaborations to bolster its pipeline, including a partnership with Evotec, yielding six non-hormonal pre-clinical candidates, and its recent acquisition of KaNDy Therapeutics for elinzanetant. Currently, the global women’s health market is valued at $38.10 billion and is projected to grow at a staggering CAGR of 4.9%. Contraceptives held the prime market share in 2021, and the hospital pharmacies section dominated the market. 

Bayer's and the Global Women’s Health Market

It is assumed that this strong position on the market is due to increasing awareness through counseling and awareness programs, and campaigning by administration bodies and industry players. But also due to strategic acquisitions, joint ventures, mergers, partnerships, and collaborations. 

Despite Bayer’s history in women’s health and its potential, Bayer’s performance in the women’s health area has fallen short of investor expectations. Also, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected the market, with low-end execution of key players in the women’s health market and a significant profit downturn.

The combination of this led to the decision to re-focus research efforts on the previously mentioned four core therapeutic areas: oncology, cardiovascular, neurology, and rare diseases/immunology. The company has become a leading player in these areas following recent deals involving cell and gene therapies. By concentrating on these areas, Bayer hopes to deliver modified, high-value breakthrough medicines to patients.

While Bayer will no longer prioritize women’s health, it does remain committed to pursuing some of its clinical-stage products, including Elinzanetant and its two Phase I assets targeting endometriosis. Elinzanetant aims to treat vasomotor symptoms during menopause and is projected to have peak sales of more than €1bn ($1.01bn). Bayer’s two Phase I assets, BAY2328065 and BAY2395840, were co-developed with Evotec for the treatment of endometriosis.

Implications of Bayer’s Decision

Bayers’ scaling back in the field of women’s health has globally sparked some concerns, particularly among those who believe that the company has a moral obligation to invest in women’s health. From a business standpoint, Bayer’s decision is not surprising at all, given its past struggles in this area. From a market research perspective, Bayer’s decision to re-focus its research efforts on four core therapeutic areas is an interesting development.

It highlights the importance of carefully evaluating the potential risks and rewards of pursuing research in a particular therapeutic area and making strategic decisions accordingly. For market research companies, it also underscores the need to stay up-to-date with the latest developments and trends in the pharmaceutical industry, so that they can provide valuable insights and guidance to their clients.

The good news for those disappointed about Bayer’s most recent development in women’s health, Bayer’s commitment to pursuing some of its clinical-stage products (BAY2328065 and BAY2395840) in women’s health suggests that the company is not completely abandoning this therapeutic area.

Conclusion

Bayer’s decision to move away from women’s health to four core therapeutic areas, including oncology, cardiovascular, neurology, and rare diseases/immunology, may come as a surprise to some. However, it is not entirely unexpected. Despite being a leading player in the women’s health market, the company has faced challenges in this area and has chosen to concentrate its research efforts in other areas where it has demonstrated success.

From a market research perspective, this highlights the importance of carefully evaluating potential risks and rewards when pursuing research in a particular therapeutic area. It also underscores the need for market research companies to stay informed of industry trends and developments to provide valuable insights and guidance to clients.

While Bayer’s decision may be disappointing to some, the company’s commitment to pursuing some of its clinical-stage products in women’s health suggests that it is not completely abandoning this therapeutic area.

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