The German conglomerate that invented aspirin over a century ago wants to take over much more of your medicine cabinet.
Bayer AG is boosting its presence and brand in the U.S., the world's biggest medicine market. Bayer is increasing everything from marketing and research operations in the U.S. to the number of its nonprescription medicines in pharmacies and grocery stores.
The U.S. expansion is part of the 153-year-old company's transformation from a chemical-and-dye manufacturer, a business it spun off last year, to a pure "life sciences" company focused on the health of people, pets and plants.
"I hope that over the next few years, people will learn that Bayer is more than aspirin," Phil Blake, Bayer's U.S. president and head of pharmaceuticals for the Americas, said in an interview at its U.S. headquarters in Whippany, New Jersey.
Bayer's strategy is a departure in an industry in which companies typically swim together in the same direction. Bayer is focused on expanding in the U.S., while other top drugmakers are concentrating on increasing sales and manufacturing in Asia and other developing markets.
The world's 14th-biggest drugmaker already sees signs its strategy is paying off. Last year, Bayer's sales jumped 28 percent to about $14 billion in the U.S. and Canada, where consumer health sales soared 66 percent and prescription drug sales jumped 23 percent. Global revenue rose 12 percent, to nearly $51 billion.
"The U.S. is the most important country for Bayer," said global innovation chief Kemal Malik.