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An analysis of pharma giant Bayer and the multitude of products it patrons

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Introduction

For over 150 years, Bayer has been a notorious company that has based their strengths on agriculture and health. This life science company has continued to contribute to society by designing products for the better good and work to provide major solutions to some sizable challenges. According to the Bayer website, this company looks at the growing world population and the challenges of adequate food supply. As well, they look to improve medical care and emphasize the importance of “improving people’s quality of life by preventing, alleviating and treating diseases (Bayer, 2017). Bayer also takes pride in creating food that is dependable and has value; this includes feed and plant based raw materials. Bayer makes all of this possible through its extensive understanding of biochemistry and biochemical processes. When using biochemical processes, Bayer is able to develop solutions to their problems and look to complete each mission they set out to do.

Central Mission

Bayer focuses highly on its ethical and social responsibilities and work to maintain respect of the community in which they serve. Bayer’s mission is comprised of corporate values: LIFE. LIFE is the acronym Bayer decided to use and it stands for Leadership, Integrity, Flexibility and Efficiency (Bayer, 2017). No matter who the employee is and their job, Bayer stresses they are required to follow LIFE. Leadership wants its employees to be passionate, driven, motivated, accountable, treat others fairly, and create values. Integrity stands for being a role model, following the rules and regulations, trust others and build relationships, be honest, listen and communicate appropriately, and care about others and one’s safety. Flexibility stands for driving change, readily adaptable, seeking out opportunities, and be open-minded. Finally, efficiency stands for manage resources, perform things simply and efficiently, and collaborate for better solutions (Bayer, 2017).

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Bayer takes initiative to uphold and fulfill leadership positions within the markets and recognize the importance of preserving the value for customers, stockholders, and employees. With this being said, the company focuses heavily on increasing and intensifying the company’s earning power (Bayer, 2017). Bayer sees ethical and social problems as responsibilities and opportunities to operate. They look to gain the respect of the people around them, while keeping stakeholders on their toes ready to see what they can think of next. Bayer hires employees that are driven to be innovative and hold the same high hopes of the development opportunities offered at Bayer. Bayer expresses their mission as “Science for a Better Life” (Bayer, 2017).

Bayer focuses on the demand and needs of the world to help them decide what products will drive their stock markets and be the most beneficial. They have developed a triage portfolio in which their innovations are primarily focused on pharmaceuticals, consumer health and crop science (Bayer, 2017). Outside from the main triage, animal health and a business unit are additional contributing units to Bayer.

The Pharmaceutical Division focuses on women’s health and cardiology, making prescription drugs for these two areas. Specialty therapeutics of Bayer includes oncology, hematology and ophthalmology (Bayer, 2017). Bayer also has a radiology operation in which it sells imaging equipment and contrast agents. The Consumer Health Division concentrates on the production of “nonprescription (OTC = over-the-counter) products in the dermatology, nutritional supplement, analgesic, digestive health, cold, allergy, sinus and flu, foot care and sun protection categories” (Bayer, 2017).

As for the Crop Science Division, Bayer is a global dominant enterprise in agriculture in regards to seeds, crop protection, and nonagricultural pest control (Bayer, 2017). Bayer’s goals are to create sustainable agriculture through the use of prized seeds and a system to eliminate pests and manage the growing problems in agriculture. Bayer prides itself in having phenomenal customer service for their agricultural consumers (Bayer, 2017). Bayer also is a leading contributor in Animal Health and works to create treatments to a variety of dideases affecting various animals (Bayer, 2017).

Important Company Product

Benefits of Aspirin

Bayer has created a number of well-known products that many people use including: Aleve, Alk-Seltzer, Claritin, Dr. Scholl’s, MiraLax, and Yaz. With the use of many of their products, Bayer creates an easier, healthier life for those suffering with a number of diseases, disorders, or symptoms. Bayer’s first product and most popular was aspirin. Aspirin is a multi-functional pill that can be used as a pain killer, heart attack preventer, and possibly a cancer preventer all in one (Landau, 2010). It has been clear to people for centuries aspirin offers a list of benefits and people knew when they took it they instantly felt better overall. They reported its therapeutic effects were helpful before any scientific knowledge was really known about Aspirin (Landau, 2010).

Aspirin has grasped the attention of the public because its benefits have proven to lower the risk of heart attacks with daily use, even as small as taking a baby aspirin per day. According to Dr. Karol Watson, a professor of cardiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, daily aspirin could lower someone’s risk of a heart attack as much as 20% over a span of 20 years (Landau, 2010). The studies were based on 25,000 participants and it is not definite but it’s enough to assume this drug has some type of advantage for a good amount of people and its ancient properties are something to consider. Aspirin is also a universal, worldwide known drug and everyone understands its value; it is definitely not unknown or unavailable (Landau, 2010).

History of Aspirin

Aspirin was named after a genus of shrubs called Spiraea. Spiraea contains the natural ingredient in aspirin: salicylic acid. Beans, peas, jasmine, clover, and some grasses and trees contain salicylic acid (Landau, 2010). This acid can be found in the over the counter aspirin bought in stores. Aspirin like remedies were used for centuries and can be dated all the way back to the ancient Egyptians (Landau, 2010). For aches and pains, the ancient Egyptians used willow bark but little did they know salicylic acid was the reason they were experiencing therapeutic effects such as reduction of inflammation and regulation of body temperature (Landau, 2010). According to Hippocrates, the famous Greek physician found that willow leaves and bark relieved pain and fever. This was dated back to 460 to 377 B.C and it was not until thousands of years later people began to segregate the beneficial components (Landau, 2010).

During the 1800s, Aspirin was the center of attention for researchers in Europe and they wanted to understand more about salicylic acid. A French pharmacist named Henri Leroux isolated aspirin’s prime ingredient, salicylic acid in 1874. By 1874, Hermann Kolbe designed a synthetic version of salicylic acid (Landau, 2010). In Germany in 1890, the over the counter version of aspirin was designed by a chemist named Felix Hoffmann in a form called acetylsalicylic acid, under the company: Bayer (Landau, 2010). Hoffmann developed this form because he wanted to help his father suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Bayer began developing this product more and more and delivering it to physicians to give to their patients. It became a success in no time and by 1915 it became an over the counter medicine in tablet form (Landau, 2010).

A physician named Dr. Lawrence Craven pushed for aspirin for his cardiac patients and it brought light to its benefits when reducing heart attacks, in California in 1948 (Landau, 2010). By 1982, it was discovered that aspirin “inhibits production of hormones called prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are responsible for the formation of clots that leads to heart attacks and strokes, and aspirin prevents that clotting from happening” (Landau, 2010). These findings granted researchers the Nobel Prize in 1982.

In 2014, Bayer introduced a new form of aspirin continuing to use acetylsalicylic acid but in the form of micro particles (Bayer, 2017). These micro particles are 10 percent of the size of the particles being put in the original aspirin (Bayer, 2017). Sodium carbonate is also combined with the micro particles to produce a buffer in the new aspirin. This in return allows for faster absorption through the blood system and would allow for a faster acting product (Bayer, 2017).

Chemical Makeup of Aspirin

As mentioned before Aspirin is made of acetylsalicylic acid and this prevents the formation of prostaglandins. According to an article published by John Wiley and Sons (2006), “the enzyme that metabolizes arachidonic acid, the precursor to the prostaglandin product, is called cyclooxygenase.” With this being said, there are cyclooxygenase I and II, both abbreviated as COX-1 and COX-2. COX-1 produces prostaglandins, while COX-2 promotes pains and inflammation. Aspirin inhibits both COX-1 and COX-2, giving it therapeutic effects (“Aspirin,” 2006). Aspirin is made up of a carboxylic acid and an ester.

Biotechnological Product

Bayer has many pharmaceuticals designed using biotechnological processes and many that do not. One product that Bayer developed using recombinant DNA is Eylea or Afibercept. Eylea is developed using recombinant fusion protein containing “portions of human VEGF receptor 1 and 2 extracellular domains fused to the Fc portion of human IgG1 and formulated as an iso-osmotic solution for IVT administration” (“Eylea,” 2017). VEGF stands for vascular endothelial growth factor and is a natural occurring growth factor within the body (“Eylea,” 2017). Eylea binds to VEGF-A and placental growth factor and prevents binding and activation of the VEGF receptors (“Eylea,” 2017).

The purpose of Eylea is to cure age-related wet macular degeneration. Macular Degeneration “is a degenerative disease of the macula, the part of the retina responsible for detailed vision” (“Eylea,” 2017). The retina is used to record images we perceive and through the use of the optic nerve the information is sent from the eye to the brain (“What is Macular Degeneration?”, 2017 ). With this we get our sight, but when macular degeneration sets in the cells in the macula deteriorate and what we see through our eyes becomes hard to perceive. At first, macular degeneration does not cause visual problems but without recognition of the problem the disease can get worse. As it gets worse, vision becomes blurry and continues to lead to total loss of vision. Oddly enough, those that suffer with macular degeneration maintain their peripheral vision because the retina is still working (“What is Macular Degeneration?”, 2017).

This degenerative disease is one the leading causes of blindness in countries such as Canada. Macular degeneration causes blindness by producing fibrovascular scarring, after new, abnormal blood vessels appear (“Eylea,” 2017). Eylea does not have the ability to cure macular degeneration but it was designed to minimize vision loss to maintain independence of a person. Currently, there is no cure for macular degeneration but Eylea is a close second for a treatment and the goals it has for its patients. Eylea is categorized as a chemotherapy drug and is in the form of an injection into the eye and provides resources to help patients get access to such treatment.

Stewardship of Bayer

Bayer follows a stewardship that evaluates health and environmental risks of a product through a range of speculation. Research, development, production, and marketing are all basic steps in which Bayer looks to adequately complete to ensure its product becomes a success. Bayer emphasizes safety is one of its biggest principles it follows. The biotechnology company uses transparent communication and safe handling of its products (Bayer, 2017). According to the Bayer (2017) website, “product stewardship involves both compliance with statutory requirements and voluntary commitment. Here, we also take into account the precautionary principle as explained in Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration of the United Nations and communiqué COM (2000) 1 of the European Commission.”

Bayer strictly follows the voluntary Responsible Care™ initiative of the chemical industry, since 1994 (Bayer, 2017). The Responsible Care™ Global charter introduced this initiative and Bayer has made an effort to follow all the guidelines presented in the charter. It follows the categories shortened to HESQ, which stands for health, safety, environmental protection and quality (Bayer, 2017). Bayer also works to improve its scientific risk assessments.

When developing pharmaceuticals, Bayer focuses on biotechnological methods. Some of the pharmaceuticals Bayer makes such as Eylea and Kogenate are made by biotechnological methods (Bayer, 2017). Both Eylea and Kogenate use recombinant DNA technology. “Further biotechnologically manufactured active ingredients are undergoing clinical development” (Bayer, 2017).

As mentioned before, Bayer prides itself in safety. Bayer takes into account all legal provisions and has designed a sector referred to as a group responsible for overseeing all gene technology. This same group also watches over and controls the pharmaceutical and crop science divisions (Bayer, 2017). “We provide our stakeholders with comprehensive, transparent and reliable information about our products and services in accordance with our Bayer Responsible Marketing & Sales Policy” (Bayer, 2017).

In order to create a product worthy for production and marketing, Bayer keeps their eyes peeled when dealing with plant biotechnology. Bayer cooperates with pertinent laws and regulations and standards within the industry. Bayer works closely with its stakeholders, keeping them highly informed and conversation is open while inviting constructive dialogue (Bayer, 2017).

Bayer feels very strongly when it comes to animal welfare, even though it is legally required for pharmaceutical companies to use animals for safety reasons. Bayer looks to reduce the amount of studies done on animals and find alternative methods of testing pharmaceuticals when possible (Bayer, 2017). Bayer possesses an in-house Global Animal Welfare Committee who advises Bayer on conducting animal welfare in regards to pharmaceutical studies. Both international and national laws are mandatory and strictly in place (Bayer, 2017).

Bayer works very diligently to keep protection against counterfeit products. Products that often are seen being counterfeited are usually medicines and crop protection products. Bayer feels very strongly about the selling of counterfeit products and attempts to advocate against such a problem and works to increase the amount and strength of laws against counterfeiting. Bayer wants to protect its clients and patients from the potential dangers of counterfeit products (Bayer, 2017).

Target Market

Bayer looks to sell to the aging and growing population, in which self-care is the best option for them. Their main focus is developing pharmaceuticals that can be obtained over the counter and are easily accessible, making it easier for at home care (Bayer, 2017). Bayer’s wants to help people keep independence in regards to their health and changes that are occurring. Bayer is developing new ways to transport their products, making them more readily available. This company also is targeting the government, health care systems, and health care payers that need to take medical precautions. As well, Bayer targets the nutritional supplement and self-care product markets. Currently, Bayer wants to continue to expand internationally to places such as Brazil, Russia, and China to market its innovations (Bayer, 2017).

Future of Bayer

I believe this company will continue to have success for decades to come. There are a few important reasons for my prediction regarding their future success. For starters, Bayer has been around for some time and has branched out to take on a variety innovative products, not just in the pharmaceutical realm. Since developing aspirin, Bayer has opened its eyes to the endless possibilities to create, advance, and perfect products that people not only want but need. Bayer also seems very patient and people centered and have a broad understanding of the consequences if they fail to produce legitimate, safe products. Bayer strives for a strong reputation and knows that is what can destroy any given company, no matter how long they have been around. Bayer values their research and development team and express how valuable they are to the company.

Even though Bayer’s stocks are down, I still believe based off the past 5 years the company’s stock has fluctuated but has always remained fairly high and worthy. As well, Bayer has made an attempt to diversify its company by buying and selling its company, simply by divesting it. With this being said, companies need to make adjustments and be open to change in order to be competitive and remain a prestigious company, working to bring in more investors and more products. Clearly, this graph shows the profit continues to be generated from Bayer year after year.

Bayer has been working on buying Monsanto, an enormous drug and pesticides company. Currently, the deal is still being worked out but Bayer is planning to buy Monsanto for $66 billion (Murray, 2016). This already gives a straightforward understanding that Bayer is looking to expand and has the money to make it happen. They have made a lot of great decisions that has granted them the opportunities to buy big companies like Monsanto. If this deal works out, Bayer would become even more dominant. Specifically, Monsanto owns The Climate Company and Bayer knows agriculture has so much room for advancement and innovation. Bayer understands in buying Monsanto allows for revolution in data collection for soil and weather. With this, Bayer will sell seeds and chemicals with data to back up their products, offering precise products with targeted advice (Murray, 2016).

However, Bayer also sells portions of its company to make room for new investments. BASF, a German chemical company, is looking to buy Bayer’s LibertyLink technology (Gullikson, 2017). Divestment will allow Bayer to plan for its arrival of Monsanto and to avoid the overlap products of Roundup Ready and LibertyLink, a similar product. This is just one way Bayer continues to create additional assets (Gullikson, 2017). With assets, generates money and in return allows the company to continue to thrive and produce new products.

Lastly, Bayer usually makes it possible to get FDA approval of its products to guarantee its potential to become a legitimate product in which people can be prescribed. Bayer continues to develop products, for example, Bayer just recently received approval to sell Aliqopa (Bomey, 2017). Aliqopa is a drug for adult patients suffering with relapsed or failed treatment for follicular B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. This product brings huge relief for patients with lymphoma because it has the ability to cure 1 in 5 people with this disease (Bomey, 2017). That is a lot of people and is a heavily anticipated drug. Drugs like this that gain recognition quickly and have big results are what generate Bayer revenue and another reason I only see success in Bayer’s future.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Bayer appears to be a well-run company that cares about its workers and target market. Hopefully, Bayer continues to push out products that cause more good than harm. With the development of Aspirin and more advanced products like Eylea, Bayer remains a powerhouse of a company. Bayer’s innovation, products, and mission are all what keeps this business thriving and competitive. Only time will tell if the company decides to sell or buy other companies, yet they are making wise decisions currently and it will be interesting to see where Bayer goes in the next few years.

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