Bayer Acquires Targenomix

Targenomix, a spin-off of the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Plant Physiology, will contribute to Bayer’s R&D pipeline

Biotech start-up Targenomix with its unique expertise in systems and computational biology will significantly strengthen and broaden the capabilities of Bayer in the area of crop protection and beyond. © shaiith/Adobe Stock

Bayer announced today the acquisition of German biotech start-up Targenomix. The spin-off of the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Plant Physiology (MPI MPP) uses novel systems biology and computational life science tools to identify new modes of action for crop protection compounds. The Targenomix expertise, personnel, and platforms will be an important part of delivering on Bayer Crop Science’s commitment to the design of safe and effective molecules, and will accelerate the discovery and development of molecules with the potential to make agricultural production more sustainable despite dynamic challenges like climate change, and increasing weed, disease and insect resistance.

Targenomix is a foundational element of Bayer’s new crop protection systems biology platform. Targenomix will operate at arms-length and maintain a flexibility-focused business model, through which the company will continue to conduct crop protection research with a start-up mindset and agile culture.

Targenomix’ approach has proven to be very successful. By using a unique and holistic systems biology approach and leveraging leading expertise building on a strong scientific foundation stemming from the MPI MPP, Targenomix has delivered numerous novel targets and modes of action for small molecules in weed control. Their innovative tools to identify and select safe and sustainable compounds complement our design-based strategy in crop protection discovery and will accelerate the development of new products that farmers need to meet future challenges of agriculture.

Bob Reiter
Head of R&D at Bayer’s Crop Science Division

By further integrating Targenomix’ systems biology approach into Bayer’s established R&D pipeline, Bayer is driving the development of innovative new technologies towards safe and effective products that farmers need.

Bayer and Targenomix have been working successfully together for the past eight years. Combining Bayer’s leading capabilities and proven crop protection pipeline with Targenomix’ flexible start-up mindset, deep multi-omics technology, and systems biology expertise will allow us jointly to continue to deliver novel modes of action. This new phase of our complementary relationship will accelerate the discovery of the next generation of sustainable and safe molecules.

Sebastian Klie
CEO of Targenomix

Bayer and Targenomix have been working together successfully since 2014, with the discovery and development of the industry’s first new post-emergence herbicide mode of action (MOA) for broadacre weed control in 30 years supported by the collaboration. This molecule has demonstrated effective control of key resistant grasses in early research and is expected to be commercialized towards the end of this decade.

I am very happy about the integration of Targenomix GmbH into the Bayer family which secures a long-term future for Targenomix and its employees. Targenomix with its unique expertise in systems and computational biology will significantly strengthen and broaden the capabilities of Bayer in the area of crop protection and beyond. Keeping Targenomix at arms length ensures that the spirit of Targenomix is maintained, a key requisite for its further success. The decision of the multinational Bayer to acquire Targenomix is another example of the high international recognition Max-Planck-Institutes enjoy for their science.

Prof. Dr. Lothar Willmitzer
Director emeritus of the MPI MPP and founder of Targenomix

Having supported our portfolio company Targenomix from the start of its cooperation with Bayer we are delighted to see it now strengthening Bayer - one of Germany´s most prominent large corporates - with its novel system biology approaches originating from the MPI MPP.

Ulrich Mahr
Member General Management at Max-Planck-Innovation GmbH

About 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 help people and the planet thrive by supporting efforts to master the major challenges presented by a growing and aging global population. Bayer is committed to driving sustainable development and generating a positive impact with its businesses. At the same time, the Group aims to increase its earning power and create value through innovation and growth. The Bayer brand stands for trust, reliability and quality throughout the world. In fiscal 2021, the Group employed around 100,000 people and had sales of 44.1 billion euros. R&D expenses before special items amounted to 5.3 billion euros. For more information, go to

About Targenomix

Targenomix’ goal is to accelerate the development of crop protection compounds by using systems biology, omics technologies, computational biology and precision phenotyping to find novel modes of action together with its strategic research partner Bayer Crop Science. Starting in 2014 as a spin-off from the Max-Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Potsdam, Germany, Targenomix today employs close to 30 researchers focusing on mode of action elucidation and the development of innovative tools for the early safety assessment of molecules.

About the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology

The Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology is engaged in the study of plant cells, tissues and organs. The researchers want to find out how the uptake of substances interacts with the build-up, storage, transport and mobilization of plant metabolites. Furthermore, the institute's research focuses on the interactions between the genomes of mitochondria and chloroplasts and the one of the cell nucleus, as well as on the investigation of epigenetic processes in plant reproduction. The researchers also aim to understand the influence of environmental factors on plant growth and development.

About Max Planck Innovation

As the technology transfer organization of the Max Planck Society, Max Planck Innovation is the link between industry and basic research. With our interdisciplinary team, we advise and support scientists at the Max Planck Institutes in evaluating inventions, filing patents and starting businesses. We offer industry central access to the innovations of the Max Planck Institutes. We are therefore fulfilling an important task: The transfer of results from basic research into commercially and socially useful products.

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