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Leaps by Bayer leads USD 17 million Series B financing in biotech company Azitra


Harnessing the human skin microbiome to develop cutting-edge solutions moving the paradigm from treatment to cure in dermatology / Investment to support advancement of Azitra’s technology platform for both clinical and consumer programs

Leverkusen, Germany, and Branford, CT, USA, October 15, 2020 - Leaps by Bayer, the impact investment arm of Bayer AG, today announced a USD 8 million financial investment in US-based clinical-stage medical dermatology biotech company Azitra Inc. The partnership will focus on developing cutting-edge skin products using engineered and wild-type bacteria for biotherapeutic, over-the-counter (OTC) and cosmetic applications leveraging Azitra’s technology platform for both live therapeutic products (LBPs) and consumer programs. Existing investors, Bios Partners and Connecticut Innovations also participated in the round. 

"Leaps by Bayer is investing in transformative technologies with the ability to move the paradigm from treatment to cure", said Jürgen Eckhardt, Head of Leaps by Bayer "The human microbiome is a universe within and on our bodies that is currently poorly understood but provides opportunities for breakthroughs in the broader healthcare sector. Azitra’s cutting edge microbiome technology platform has the potential to address multiple issues of the human skin." 

Cure through microbiome health is one of Bayer’s 10 leaps on which to focus investment. Recent scientific publications suggest that microorganisms such as bacteria and especially skin-friendly bacteria, commonly referred to as skin microbiome, can significantly contribute to the protection of the skin from hostile invasions. Additional positive effects include supporting the recovery from skin diseases such as atopic dermatitis, acne, and rosacea, and may also accelerate wound healing.

Building on a joint development agreement announced in January 2020, Bayer and Azitra are collaborating to leverage Azitra’s proprietary panel of Staphylococcus epidermidis strains to identify potential candidates for the treatment of adverse skin conditions and diseases.

"Our collaboration with Azitra will draw on a deep understanding of the skin microbiome to deliver breakthrough natural solutions for healthy skin. Developing science-based products to help consumers take care of their skin is an excellent expression of what we mean with our purpose: Science for a better life", Heiko Schipper, Member of the Board of Management of Bayer AG and President of Bayer Consumer Health, comments on the investment. 

Azitra’s versatile platform technology leverages proteomics, genetic engineering and the skin microbiome to develop therapeutic products for cancer therapy associated skin rashes, targeted orphan indications such as Netherton syndrome and atopic dermatitis. 

"Azitra is excited to continue our Bayer partnership with this investment from Leaps by Bayer to advance our patented microbiome technology and demonstrate its potential for LBPs and the consumer market," said Richard Andrews, President and Chief Executive Officer of Azitra. "Bayer will provide valuable strategic insights for our consumer product development while we continue to move our therapeutic candidates into clinical testing for dermatologic indications."

About Azitra
Azitra, Inc. is a clinical-stage medical dermatology company that combines the power of the microbiome with cutting-edge genetic engineering to treat skin disease. The company was founded in 2014 by scientists from Yale University and works with world-leading scientists in dermatology, microbiology, and genetic engineering to advance its pharmaceutical programs to treat cancer therapy associated skin rashes, targeted orphan indications and atopic dermatitis. 
Learn more at www.azitrainc.com

About Bayer and Leaps by Bayer
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of health care and nutrition. Its products and services are designed to benefit people by supporting efforts to overcome the major challenges presented by a growing and aging global population. At the same time, the Group aims to increase its earning power and create value through innovation and growth. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development, and the Bayer brand stands for trust, reliability and quality throughout the world. In fiscal 2019, the Group employed around 104,000 people and had sales of 43.5 billion euros. Capital expenditures amounted to 2.9 billion euros, R&D expenses to 5.3 billion euros. For more information, go to www.bayer.com.

Leaps by Bayer, a unit of Bayer AG, leads impact investments into solutions to some of today’s biggest challenges in health and agriculture. The investment portfolio includes more than 30 companies. They are all working on potentially breakthrough technologies to overcome some specific challenges such as, e.g. regenerating lost tissue function, reducing the environmental impact of agriculture, preventing or curing cancer, and others. For more information, go to leaps.bayer.com.


Forward-Looking Statements 
This release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Bayer’s public reports which are available on the Bayer website at www.bayer.com. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.



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