The goal of the symposium was to encourage interdisciplinary exchanges. Renowned scientists gave presentations on research trends in medical fields such as cardiovascular diseases and cancer treatments, in agricultural science fields such as breeding methods, and in material science fields such as lightweight construction and light guidance.
In his opening address, Dr. Marijn Dekkers, the Chairman of the Board of Management of Bayer AG, referred to the research tradition, which dates back 150 years, and noted that Bayer today is a world-class innovation company. He laid down a challenge for all the scientists: "We need to make the importance of innovations and scientific advances clear. People all over the world can benefit from the results of our research. And this should bring us not just acceptance, but also appreciation."
"Nonetheless there is still a high demand for research in all areas where Bayer is active. Despite medical advances, there are still no adequate forms of treatment for more than half of all known diseases," said Dekkers.
TNS EMNID asked those scientists present with a health care background which cardiovascular diseases they feel are in particular need of new treatment options. Around half of the scientists mentioned improving the treatment of renal insufficiency as a primary goal. Therapy options for lung diseases with secondary high lung pressure and resistant arterial hypertension also need to be expanded, according to 43 percent of respondents.
The scientists were also questioned about cancer research. In particular, 51 percent see the greatest opportunities for new treatment methods in antibody drug conjugates, and 49 percent for multi-kinase inhibitors. Other methods also seem promising to the experts, such as antibodies (46 percent), active immune therapy (41 percent) and drugs to tackle cancer stem cells (37 percent).
A further social challenge is feeding the growing world population. To meet this, 57 percent of agricultural experts surveyed emphasized the development of new plant traits such as stress tolerance using biotechnological methods, while just under half attached particularly high importance to more effective crop protection agents. Three quarters of participants surveyed agree that only an intelligent combination of all available methods - including new cultivation methods - can safeguard future food supplies.
The scientists active in the agricultural sector were also asked which plant varieties should be developed so that they adapt more easily to changing climate conditions or can grow in areas that are not suitable for farming today. Close to 70 percent of responses highlighted wheat. Just under half of participants viewed salt-tolerant rice and improved soybean varieties as key cultivation targets.
Prof. Wolfgang Plischke, member of the Board of Management at Bayer AG responsible for Innovation, Technology and Sustainability, summed up the proceedings at the close of the symposium: "In the last few days, we’ve learned a great deal through the exchange of information and ideas with experts from a variety of disciplines," he said, announcing: "We’ll also be continuing to pursue this intensive research work in the future."
The TNS Emnid survey also showed that the interdisciplinary use of new technology platforms is relevant to chemists, biologists, medical experts, pharmacologists and agricultural scientists. Over half of the scientists surveyed expect bioinformatics to be able to contribute most in the future. Around 45 percent of participants also view development in DNA sequencing and big data analysis as key overarching technologies.
Material sciences are seeing a number of trends. In respect of "light guiding materials," a large majority viewed energy-efficient lighting as a future potential application. Responding to the question of which plastic properties will play an important role in the future, over half of the scientists questioned mentioned energy storage and conversion.
About Bayer HealthCare
The Bayer Group is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, agriculture and high-tech materials. Bayer HealthCare, a subgroup of Bayer AG with annual sales of EUR 18.6 billion (2012), is one of the world's leading, innovative companies in the healthcare and medical products industry and is based in Leverkusen, Germany. The company combines the global activities of the Animal Health, Consumer Care, Medical Care and Pharmaceuticals divisions. Bayer HealthCare's aim is to discover, develop, manufacture and market products that will improve human and animal health worldwide. Bayer HealthCare has a global workforce of 54,900 employees (Dec 31, 2012) and is represented in more than 100 countries.