Bayer opens doors for students in Philippine Science High School Science Immersion Program

June 28, 2022

Bayer Philippines Inc., a global life science company, is now a partner of the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) for their Science Immersion Program (SIP) after signing a Memorandum of Agreement last Wednesday, June 22, 2022.
Bayer is opening the doors to its agricultural research and development centers in the Philippines as immersion sites for selected students to learn and gain hands-on experience on the science behind crop protection and plant breeding.


“The Philippine Science High School System is committed to provide Pisay students relevant learning opportunities to advance their scientific aptitude and interpersonal skills.Today we earned another collaborator to champion the worthy cause of science education. I am thankful to Bayer Philippines for accommodating the PSHS System to the Science Immersion Program (SIP) for Grades 10-12 students,” said Lilia Habacon, PSHS director.

The Science Immersion Program is a required course where PSHS student-interns can learn science, engineering and research laboratory skills and concepts; foster interaction with researchers, scientists, and technical personnel; be exposed to basic science or engineering principles applied in facility operations; identify possible research problems; and establish linkages with institutions for collaboration.

“Bayer aspires for a world where there is ‘Health for all, Hunger for none’ – and science will help us get there. It’s in our purpose of ‘Science for a Better Life’ and it is integral to our Pharmaceutical, Consumer Health and CropScience divisions. As a partner of the Philippine Science High School for their Science Immersion Program, we hope to help inspire our young scientists to take a deeper interest in agriculture, and to support science education in the country through hands-on activities in our research sites in Laguna and General Santos City,” said Bayer Philippines Inc. Managing Director Angel-Michael Evangelista.


From left to right: PSHS Deputy Executive Director Rod Allan De Lara, PSHS Executive Director Lilia Habacon, Bayer Philippines Inc. Managing Director Angel-Michael Evangelista, and Bayer Philippines Communications Manager Nadira Abubakar. (Photo Credit: John Carlo Quito)

Selected students coming from different PSHS campuses across the country are slated to start their immersion with Bayer around August this year at the Agronomic Testing Center Southeast Asia (ATC-SEA) in Laguna, as well as Plant Breeding Station in General Santos City.

At the Bayer ATC-SEA site, PSHS students will gain basic understanding of agriculture and crop protection research and gain hands-on experience in conducting laboratory and field bio-efficacy trials from insect rearing, field assessments and analysis.

They will also be exposed to agriculture operations like seedling production, land preparation activities, crop maintenance, and safe use of crop protection products.
At the Bayer Seeds R&D Station in General Santos City, students will learn about plant breeding as both a science and a business.

They will be familiarized with the activities of the Plant Pathology Lab, Seed Lab, and field and screenhouse nurseries.

They will participate in actual inoculum propagation, inoculation, rice emasculation and hand pollination. They are expected to gain exposure to the end-to-end breeding process of rice and corn in an industry setting, which includes development of breeding populations, molecular breeding, testing and evaluation of lines and hybrids from early pipeline to pre-commercial stage, as well as exposure to digitalization, mechanization, and automation of breeding operations.

Prior to the Science Immersion Prgram, Bayer scientists from India and the Philippines also conducted a plant breeding and biotechnology webinar across all PSHS campuses to share how Bayer DEKALB corn seeds from the lab to the farm have helped Filipino farmers increase theiryield and improve their livelihood.
Aside from Bayer Philippines, other partners in the PSHS Science Immersion Program include private companies, government institutions and universities. For more information about Bayer in the Philippines and its solutions for agriculture, check out the Bayer CropScience Philippines website at http://www.cropscience.bayer.com.ph or visit their Facebook page at
https://www.facebook.com/BayerCropSciencePH/ or subscribe to the Bayer AgricademyTV
channel on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/c/BayerAgricademyTV.


Bayer Philippines Inc. Managing Director Angel-Michael Evangelista conveying support for science education through the PSHS Science Immersion Program. (Photo credit: John Carlo Quito)

Bayer Philippines pilots Mama & Baby Care project in Tuy, Batangas, to train at least 100 BHWs on maternity and infant care

June 7, 2022

BATANGAS, PHILIPPINES — As the country adjusts to the new normal, a study by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and University of the Philippines Population Institute (UPPI) revealed that the pandemic disrupted family planning and maternal and newborn health services in the Philippines and globally, straining already stretched out government healthcare workers.

Barangay Health Workers at Brgy. San Jose, Tuy, Batangas receive training for the “Mama & Baby Care” project of Bayer Philippines and Health Futures Foundation Inc. (HFI)

In its commitment to championing women’s health and safety, Bayer Philippines Inc. launched the “Mama & Baby Care: The First 1,000 Days” project, an initiative that formally trains at least 100 Barangay Health Workers (BHW) with the fundamental modules needed for maternity and infant care.

The First 1,000 Days

Supported by Bayer, a global life sciences company, Bayer Philippines Managing Director Angel-Michael Evangelista remarks Bayer is committed to helping BHWs care for mothers and newborn children.

“At Bayer we support ‘health for all, hunger for none’, and with this project, healthcare workers are equipped with the knowledge to support both mother and child during that critical stage of development and help set the foundation for good health early on in life,” said Evangelista.

The training modules, developed by HFI, give prominence to practical information on properly and safely caring for pregnant women and their babies during the first 1,000 days from conception.

From the formational pregnancy period when the fetus grows and develops inside the womb for 270 days, until the infant’s first 730 days after birth, the program highlights the support and care health workers can provide.

“Mama & Baby Care” also puts special emphasis on training healthcare workers in the local barangays to offer ready support for mothers closer to home, lessening the need for pregnant women to spend hours in transit just to make it to their regular check-ups in nearby cities.

By empowering BHWs with trainings on maternal and infant care, local governments provide access to safe motherhood in areas where such services are not available.

“Working with Bayer Philippines, the program fills in the need for maternal and infant healthcare in the local setting, hence the strategic move to focus on barangay health workers. Currently, there are very few programs targeted specifically on the first 1,000 days from the baby’s conception, which our two teams saw as a crucial gap that needed to be addressed. We hope to champion healthy infancy and toddlerhood by starting from the formative days of safe motherhood,” shares HFI Chair Dr. Jaime Galvez Tan.

Bayer Philippines, Health Future Foundation Inc. and representatives from the local government of Tuy at the community launch event of Mama & Baby Care at Tuy, Batangas.
In photo: (L-R back row: Incoming ABC President Hon. Kap. Ramil Sanchez, Tuy BHW President Nancy Delfinado, Tuy RHU – Public Health Nurse Alma Capricho, and Current ABC President Hon. Kap. Adrian Perez) (L-R front row: Tuy MHO Dra. Pilar, Bayer PH
Communications Manager Nadira Abubakar, HFI Chair Dr. Jaime Galvez Tan, MD MPH, and Executive Assistant Domingo Condicion to represent Batangas Mayor Randy Afable)

Tuy Municipal Health Officer Dr. Pilar Adrias, also comments, “Pregnancy and the early stages of motherhood are no doubt challenging, but with an efficient and capable support system around them, we hope to lighten the burden of new mothers across the Philippines.”

Already before COVID-19, the Philippines saw about 2,600 women dying every year due to complications from pregnancy or childbirth. The maternal mortality cases in 2020 can increase to up to 670 additional deaths from the 2019 level (26 % increase).

At a community event on May 30, 2022, “Mama & Baby Care” stakeholders officially marked the beginning of the project.

The event was attended by representatives from Bayer Philippines, partner organization Health Futures Foundation Inc. (HFI) Chair Dr. Jaime Galvez Tan, and spokespersons from the local municipality of Tuy and its community of healthcare workers– Tuy Municipality Health Officer Dr. Pilar Adrias, Tuy BHW President Nancy C. Delfinado, and Tuy ABC President Adrian Perez.
References:

UNFPA Philippines | Significant rise in maternal deaths and unintended pregnancies feared because of COVID-19, UNFPA and UPPI study shows – https://philippines.unfpa.org/en/news/significant-rise-maternal-
deaths-and-unintended-pregnancies-feared-because-covid-19-unfpa-and

Bayer’s Pharma Business in Asia Pacific Drives Growth in 2021 with More Innovative Medicines to be Launched

April 21, 2022

–Pharmaceuticals division’s sales in the Asia/Pacific region grew 4.8%* to more than €5.8 billion in 2021
–This marked the tenth consecutive year of growth for Bayer’s Pharmaceuticals Division in the region
–Four upcoming major launches of innovative treatments Finerenone, Vericiguat, Larotrectinib and Darolutamide underscore Bayer’s commitment to reduce burden of cardiovascular diseases and cancer in the APAC region

Singapore, April 21, 2022 — Bayer announced today that 2021 was another record year for its Pharmaceuticals Division in the Asia/Pacific region, with robust growth of 4.8%* delivering sales of more than €5.8 billion. Business in the region contributed to almost one-third of Bayer’s pharmaceuticals global sales.2

Despite lingering COVID-19 challenges, sales of Bayer’s Pharmaceuticals Division sales outside of China and Japan grew 1-2% in developed markets such as Australia/New Zealand, Korea, and Taiwan. Key growth drivers also came from South Asia with India delivering a strong 11%3 growth and Pakistan at 2%3, and the ASEAN cluster achieving 9%3 average growth across Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Newly appointed Head of Commercial Operations for Bayer’s Pharmaceuticals Division in Asia/Pacific, Ying Chen, said: “2021 has been a successful year for Bayer’s Pharmaceuticals Division as we increased our efforts to focus on what matters most – delivering both innovative and essential medicines to patients in Asia/Pacific, despite the challenges from the pandemic. Our consistent strong growth in the region is a testament to our innovation-driven portfolio that delivers value to patients in areas of high unmet medical needs.”

Outside of China and Japan, sales of Xarelto® in Asia/Pacific grew significantly by 12%3 in 2021 over the previous year. Similarly, there was a 10%3 increase in Eylea® sales and it represents one of the most successful product launches in Asia/Pacific to date.

Xarelto remains the most broadly studied novel oral anticoagulant with 100 million patients treated in 130 countries since 2008. More than 47 million vials/pre-filled syringes of Eylea have been sold globally, generating 6.8 million patient-years of experience in 100 countries.4

Bayer plans to grow its global pharmaceuticals sales by 3-4% in 20222 on a currency and portfolio adjusted basis. The market outlook for the Asia/Pacific region remains positive, as IQVIA projects an average growth rate of 4-5% in the pharmaceutical markets across the region from 2021 to 2025.

2022 will be a breakthrough year for Bayer’s Pharmaceuticals Division in Asia/Pacific with four upcoming launches of innovative products in the fields of cardiovascular disease and oncology.

Chronic and Cardiovascular Diseases Leading Causes of Death
Every year across the globe, 15 million people die before age 70 from chronic diseases which include cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes, and obesity. Couple that with the fact that by 2050, one in four people in Asia/Pacific will be over 60 years old. 

Along with ageing, the greatest cumulative impact on health comes from the striking rise in metabolic risks – namely high Body Mass Index (BMI), high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol – accounting for nearly 20% of total health loss worldwide in 2019. Diabetes prevalence is increasing in Asia/Pacific, with over 70 million people living with diabetes in India alone. One in 10 adults worldwide is living with diabetes and out of those, almost half are undiagnosed.

Bayer’s Finerenone, a non-steroidal, selective mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) antagonist has demonstrated positive kidney and cardiovascular (CV) outcomes in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) associated with type 2 diabetes (T2D). Up to 40% of people living with diabetes have CKD, which increases the risk of renal failure/dialysis and CV outcomes.

Heart failure is the number one cause of death affecting more than 60 million people worldwide; 50% do not survive 5 years, and 1 in 5 patients will die in 2 years. One person in Australia is hospitalised for heart failure every 8 minutes. Patients in Asia/Pacific suffer from worse outcomes with late presentation of symptoms and huge gaps in treatment for the past decade to address this unmet risk. The key is to optimize treatment of worsening heart failure early and prevent the next hospitalization. To this effect, the European Society of Cardiology HF Guidelines Task Force published new guidelines in 2021 mentioning worsening heart failure for the first time and emphasized the urgency of establishing foundational therapies faster.

Many traditional therapies work by inhibiting signaling pathways. Bayer’s Vericiguat is a therapy that works by stimulating soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC), which leads to improved myocardial and vascular function

More People Diagnosed with Cancer Each Year
Despite seeing incredible progress over the past years, the overall burden of cancer is not decreasing, but increasing, with almost 20 million patients diagnosed with cancer worldwide in 2020. The global cancer burden is expected to be 28.4 million cases in 2040, a 47% rise from 2020.

Some cancers are caused by specific changes in genes and when a neurotrophic tyrosine receptor kinase (NTRK) gene joins with an unrelated gene, it is known as tropomyosin receptor kinase (TRK) fusion cancer. The cancer is not related to a certain type of tissue or the age of the patient; it can occur anywhere in the body, in both children and in adults.

Bayer’s oral precision therapy Larotrectinib has shown to be an effective treatment in children and adults with TRK fusion cancer. Only specific genomic tests can detect NTRK gene fusions, the underlying cause of TRK fusion cancer. By testing patients and finding out what is driving their cancer, doctors could target the root of the disease. With emerging research on TRK fusion cancer, we are one step closer to precision medicine, where tumor genetics, rather than where the tumor is in the body, help doctors select specific treatment approaches that could more likely benefit their patients.

Prostate Cancer Second Most Common Cancer in Men
Prostate cancer is the second most diagnosed malignancy in men worldwide. In 2020, an estimated 1.4 million men were diagnosed with prostate cancer, and about 375,000 died from the disease worldwide. Treatment options range from surgery to radiation treatment to therapy using hormone-receptor antagonists, i.e., substances that stop the formation of testosterone or prevent its effect at the target location; however in nearly all cases, the cancer eventually becomes resistant to conventional hormone therapy. Bayer’s Darolutamide is an oral androgen receptor inhibitor (ARi) that binds to the receptor with high affinity and exhibits strong antagonistic activity, thereby inhibiting the receptor function and the growth of prostate cancer cells.

Clinical Trials Yielding Consistent Results

Globally, clinical trial activity across the pharmaceutical industry saw sustained growth through the pandemic with 5,500 new planned clinical trial starts in 2021, a 14% increase over 2020. Also in 2021, new drug approvals and launches accelerated, with 84 novel active substances launched, double the number five years ago. according to IQVIA. The 15 largest pharmaceutical companies invested a record US$133 billion of R&D expenditure in 2021, representing an increase of 45% since 2016 and a level of investment close to 20% of their recorded sales.

Bayer is continuing to build a strong pharmaceuticals development pipeline, advancing around 50 projects in Phase I to III of clinical development.2 Among these projects, many have the potential to treat various types of cancers, diabetic kidney disease, and chronic heart failure which represent areas of high medical needs for the region’s ageing population. Asia/Pacific is strongly represented in Bayer’s clinical development activities with 46 ongoing clinical trials conducted in the region throughout 2020 and 2021, and over half of these in the area of oncology.

“We have approximately a quarter of patients from Asia/Pacific represented and enrolled in three key global development trial programs for Bayer Pharmaceuticals’ new breakthrough innovations: for worsening heart failure, chronic kidney disease associated with type 2 diabetes, NTRK fusion cancer and for various stages of prostate cancer. With today’s digital and decentralized model, participation in trials is more accessible and convenient remotely, allowing us to generate meaningful data to monitor and improve patients’ outcomes,” said Dr Catherine Donovan, Head of Medical Affairs, for Bayer’s Pharmaceuticals Division in Asia/Pacific.

Collaborate to Cure
Bayer is fostering collaborations with external partners for accelerating innovation in the development of new medicines. With the support of the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) since 2007, Bayer continues to expand its collaboration activities in the Asia/Pacific region and has already invested S$27 million in projects with Singapore institutions to advance clinical and translation research in cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

At its recent Breakthrough Innovation Forum, Bayer announced that it will accelerate investments by its impact investment arm Leaps by Bayer with more than €1.3 billion in funding over the next three years.

“As recovery from the pandemic begins to take shape, the company is working with healthcare professionals across the Asia/Pacific region to transform patient health through science for a better life. Innovation is our company’s lifeblood and so are partnerships and integrating patient care. Putting more resources on the frontlines to educate, detect and treat conditions early before they become more serious can lead to improved health outcomes and reduced healthcare spending,” said Dr Catherine Donovan.

Commitment to Sustainable Health
For more than 50 years, Bayer has been supporting education programs and rights-based family planning in more than 130 countries, particularly by providing access to modern forms of contraception, in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – reaching 7 million women in Asia Pacific in 2021.

With its expertise in women’s healthcare, the company has committed to provide 100 million women in low- and middle-income countries with access to family planning by 2030. Bayer consistently runs local support programs in the Asia/Pacific region to educate and support women living with hormonal disorders, like endometriosis – a painful disorder affecting 10% of women of reproductive age worldwide – many of whom do not seek early diagnosis and treatment due to various misconceptions. Many women are also affected by polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) – a condition that usually develops in a woman’s late teens in which the ovaries produce high amounts of androgens (male sex hormones) that are usually present in women only in small amounts.

In the Philippines, Bayer held a #DontLiveWithPain online roundtable last March 21, 2022 to highlight the challenges of diagnosing and living with endometriosis, build a community of support for OB-GYNEs and patients; and to encourage women to seek out more information on this debilitating condition. The call for awareness on endometriosis continues on April 27, 2022, 6:00 PM with “Breaking the Cycle: What Pinays Need to Know about Endometriosis”, an online talk to be streamed via Facebook Live on Bayer’s Ask Mara and Mercury Drug Facebook pages.

The Bayer Ask Mara chatbot on Facebook was also upgraded last year with additional features such as a store locator to help find nearby drugstores and an expanded knowledge base covering topics like endometriosis and androgen excess – on top of providing advice on contraception and reproductive health topics at any time.

“Forging ahead with our leadership in women’s healthcare, Bayer Pharmaceuticals is supporting women across Asia/Pacific not only with their family planning needs but also through various stages of their reproductive lifecycles. We are committed to patient programs to shift the treatment paradigm from traditional illness-based and hospital-bound to more sustainable patient-centered preventive care,” said Dr Ying Chen.

Bayer comes out superior with a 12.36 metric tons (MT) per hectare yield in DA-administered corn derby in Malaybalay, Bukidnon 

Bayer comes out superior with a 12.36 metric tons (MT) per hectare yield in DA-administered corn derby in Malaybalay, Bukidnon 

Bayer Crop Science (BCS) Philippines is restoring its Mindanao operations with aggressive market enthusiasm armed with new multiple pest-resistant hybrid corn varieties that toppled other seeds in a Department of Agriculture-administered corn derby.  

Coming out superior from the DA Region 10 Field Office (RFO) corn competition is Bayer’s DEKALB 8131S with a top yield of 12,36 MT per hectare. It bested other entries from seven seed companies. 

Incidentally, two other DEKALB hybrid corn varieties, ranked Top 2 and Top 3 in the DA RFO 10 corn derby. DEKALB 8899S gave a yield of 10.9 MT per hectare and DEKALB 8719S at 10.06 MT per hectare.  

DA RFO 10 reported that the hybrid corn varieties were showcased in two research centers in Region 10. The first is at the Northern Mindanao Agricultural Crops and Livestock Research Complex (NMACLRC) in Dalwangan, Malaybalay City with an altitude of 800 meters above sea level. The other competition site is at Research Center for Upland Development (RCUD) in Barongcot, Dangcagan, Bukidnon (600 meters above sea level) on March 3-4, 2022.  

“Our aim is to assess the productivity and profitability of these different hybrid corn varieties and component technologies appropriate for specific locations,” said RFO 10 Executive Director Carlene C. Collado.  

Erwin Vibal, Head of Grower Marketing at Bayer CropScience Philippines, said DEKALB’s strong performance in the competition signals revival of operation in MIndanao. The company experienced a lull in its Mindanao operation in three to four years. It just began restoring operation in 2020 with its new DEKALB superior corn varieties.   

Grain-filled Dekalb 8131S corn cob

“We pulled back in Mindanao from 2016 to 2017 since we had to rethink our strategies. Now we’re confident to be back to Mindanao because of the excellent performance of our product offerings that beat competition by miles away,” said Vibal.   

Mindanao corn farmers found the DEKALB corn varieties highly profitable owing to its VT Double Pro that has resistance to four virulent pests. VT Double Pro has dual mode of action that protects corn plants from Asiatic corn borer, Fall Army Worm (FAW), earworm, and cutworm.   

It is the only hybrid corn variety certified by the Fertilizer and Pesticides Authority (FPA) for its resistance against FAW.   

FAW has been heavily infesting corn farms nationwide, bringing losses of 80 to 100% to farmers.  

“The disease pressure in Mindanao is very high. But farmers have a choice. Do they want to use seeds and use pesticide sprays, or do they want DEKALB hybrid corn seeds that have built-in resistance against pests?” said Vibal.  

  Evangeline S. Mayantao, a farmer of Malaybalay City said (originally in Filipino), “This derby helps us farmers a lot in giving us information on what corn seeds give a high yield and on technologies that will help us grow our farms.”    

Regional Technical Director for Operations Carlota S. Madriaga recognized the sustained effort of the seed companies in developing high yielding corn varieties appropriate in different agro-climatic conditions.    

Among the provinces in the region, Bukidnon has the largest corn production in the region with more than 100 hectares.  

The third leg of corn derby and field day was held on March 10 at the Research Center for Hillyland Development (RCHD) in Lanise, Claveria, Misamis Oriental.  

The activity was supported by the PLGU Bukidnon through its Provincial Agriculture Office, respective Municipal Agriculture Offices, DA-10’s Research Division and Provincial Operations Center for Bukidnon and farmer associations.  

The results of the derby were presented to the attending corn farmers together with their assigned agricultural technicians, coming from the towns of Magsaysay, Lagonglong, Balingasag, Claveria, Jasaan, Villanueva, Tagoloan and Opol, and the city of El Salvador, MisOr; and the municipality of Malitbog, Bukidnon.   

Collado said in a statement that results from the corn competition will also form part of the agency’s procurement, factoring in the local government units and farmers’ requests.   

Collado also urged the corn farmers to form into clusters, being one of DA’s key strategies to boost the country’s agriculture sector. This will optimize any assistance from the government that would enable farmers to significantly cut their cost of operations, achieve bountiful yields, and reap an increase of incomes.   

“If you have volume, we encourage you to form a cluster, as we can make arrangements with different feed millers, to ensure you enjoy stable or even higher prices for your corn harvest,” he said. Melody Mendoza Aguiba

Bayer to focus on “decarbonizing” agriculture, brings “weather-resistant” short-stature corn, rootworm-resistant corn to market, invests 1.3 billion in Leaps

Bayer is building on the power of emerging new technologies to create a sustainable and resilient food system and help farmers produce more with fewer resources while reducing emissions and removing carbon from the atmosphere.
“Bayer’s R&D (research and development) investment of 2 billion euros annually in our Crop Science division is unparalleled in the industry, leading to a robust innovation pipeline spanning seeds and trait technologies, crop protection and digital solutions valued at up to 30 billion euros peak sales potential over the next two decades – with approximately half accounting for incremental growth,” said Rodrigo Santos, Bayer AG Board member and Crop Science president.
On the basis of a technology called RNAi, Bayer recently launched the first-ever biotech defence against corn rootworm, enabling farmers to control a pest that costs around 1 billion euros annually in crop damage while reducing the need for crop protection.
With its short-stature corn, planned to launch as part of Bayer’s newly introduced Smart Corn System in 2023, Bayer is going to bring a more weather resistant plant to the market.
Short-stature corn is able to withstand extreme conditions emerging from climate change, thus reducing the risk of crop loss and contributing to food security.
Leveraging its unparalleled digital farming platform, Bayer is a leading force in the decarbonization of agriculture.
The Bayer Carbon Initiative incentivizes farmers to embrace the use of climate smart practices such as no-till or cover crops.

Short stature corn weathers climate change


It uses next-generation technology to quantify and track the impact of these practices, underlining Bayer’s pioneering role and its unique position in advancing digital capabilities for the food, feed, fuel, and fiber value chain.
Bayer held last April 1 its first ever Breakthrough Innovation Forum.
In conjunction with the event, Bayer announced that it is accelerating its investment in its Leaps by Bayer impact investment unit with more than 1.3 billion euros funding until end of 2024.
“We stand at the dawn of a new age of innovation in the Life Sciences,” said Werner Baumann, Bayer AG chairman of the Board.
“Our ability to tackle some of the greatest challenges is increasing rapidly. From providing answers for incurable diseases, equipping people with preventive tools to live healthier, better and longer lives, to producing more agricultural output whilst significantly reducing inputs and respecting the planetary boundaries. This ability is particularly driven by the accelerating confluence of biology, chemistry, advanced computing, data analytics and artificial intelligence.”
Leaps by Bayer follows a unique approach aimed at tackling ten of humanity’s biggest challenges such as curing cancer or reducing the environmental impact of agriculture.
“Over the past seven years, we have invested more than 1.3 billion euros across a portfolio comprising more than 50 companies – all geared towards shifting core paradigms in the sectors of Health and Agriculture,” said Jürgen Eckhardt, Head of Leaps by Bayer.

SL Agritech becomes Philippines’ first private corporation issuer of social finance instrument with P2 billion financing

April 1, 2022

Pioneer hybrid rice producer SL Agritech Corp. (SLAC) has become the Philippines’ first private corporation issuer of a social finance instrument with a P2 billion corporate note considered a “sustainable” or “social” financing owing to its socio-economic benefits.

   Issuance to be managed and arranged by MIB Capital Corp., the social finance instrument will support SLAC’s continuing expansion which has become critical as it pursues Philippines’ food security goals.

   “We are very proud to be the first receiver of a social finance instrument in the Philippines,”  said SLAC Chairman Henry Lim Bon Liong in an investors’ meeting Wednesday.

  SLAC’s financing has merited the approval of DNV Business Assurance Pty. Ltd., according to Thomas Leonard of DNV during the same investors’ meeting.

   DNV made a second party opinion assuring such fund will enable to raise capital for a project that has “social” benefits.  The funds will be drawn in one or more tranches over three years.

   DNV affirmed that “SLAC currently meets the criteria established in its Eligibility Assessment Protocol (that is) aligned with the stated definition of social bonds and loans.”

      Konsintr Puongsophol, Asian Development Bank (ADB) financial sector specialist, said that there has been a steadily increasing demand for sustainable bonds such as SLAC’s social finance instrument.  He said during the investors’ meeting that global sustainable bonds doubled to $1,478.6 billion in 2021 from $745.4 billion in 2020.

SL Agritech’s Dona Maria rice, SL hybrid rice seeds

   “Globally the volume of labelled sustainable finance products is not keeping up with investor demand.  All deals are seeing oversubscription and more favorable issuance,” said Puongsophol.

   ADB extends technical assistance to support issuers of sustainable bonds. The bonds should be issued in the local currency, Philippine peso, of ASEAN Plus 3 markets.

   SLAC has engaged in a continuing expansion every two years.  Its hybrid rice plant production and seed processing sites including expansion sites are in Talavera, Nueva Ecija; Banay Banay, Davao Oriental; Victoria, Tarlac; and Matanao, Davao del Sur.

   “Through our plant expansion program, we are able to help more farmers and provide employment to those in the agricultural sector.  We are contributing to the economic growth in the target locations and nearby rural communities,” said Lim.

   Lim stressed the significance of Philippines’ pursuing food sufficiency especially at the  height of today’s crisis.

   “Both oil and food are very important for us. Right now, during this Russia war, the price of wheat and food has risen. There is a good opportunity for farmers  to plant and yield  more for us to be self-sufficient.  In this season, we have to be self-sufficient in food,” he said.

   A review and finalization of the terms of the note will be done from April 18 to 27, 2022.  Signing of the financing facility will be on May 2.  The social financing instrument will be made available to a limited number –19 primary institutional lenders.

SL Agritech provides inputs to farmers to ensure best yield

   SLAC has recently established its Social Finance Framework (SFF) and Corporate Social and Sustainability Committee to oversee socio-economic development projects.

   Its SFF is aligned with International Capital Market Association Social Bond Principles (ICMA SBP) and ASEAN Capital Markets Forum ASEAN Social Bond Standards (ASBS), said Thomas Leonard of DNV.

   The following are SLAC’s socially eligible projects :

1.      Contract growing program for rice and hybrid seeds (Buyback Scheme for Rice and Seeds). SLAC provides farmers in advance with inputs, tools, and technology – seeds, fertilizers  to ensure good harvest. SLAC buys back farmers’ harvest at prevailing price plus a premium at assures net income of farmers.

2.       Hybrid Rice Technology Demonstration Program.  This is a nationwide farmers’ education program that guides farmers on implementing farming technology using hybrid seeds from planting to harvesting.

3.      Research and development of hybrid seed varieties. This is a continuous program for improving seed varieties in terms of yield, good tasting quality, and pest resistance to ensure a sustainable food system.

4.      Harvest Performance Award (Harvest Festivals) to motivate farmers to raise yield and productivity.  The Masaganang Ani 300 provides social recognition and financial rewards for farmers if they meet the potential optimum yield of hybrid seeds set at 300 cavans per hectare.

5.      Plant Expansion Programs aimed at generating more employment for farmers and agricultural sector, promoting economic growth in rural communities. (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)

Bayer unveils guidelines on therapy of endometriosis, more popularly known for the symptom “dysmenorrhea,” affecting up to 10% of women

April 12, 2022

Bayer Pharmaceuticals has unveiled a new first-of-its-kind guideline for the early diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis, more popularly known for the symptom “dysmenorrhea.” 

The guideline is a consensus among obstetrician-gynecologists and related medical experts in Asia. Endometriosis is known to affect 6-10% of Filipino women. 

   The guideline aligns with the latest 2022 guidelines published by European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), which details the best practices of caring for women with endometriosis. 

    Both works emphasize the importance of non-invasive procedures in early diagnosis and treatment to allow for patient-centred care. 

   For instance, symptom recognition is recommended before utilising laparoscopy for diagnosis. One of endometriosis’s symptoms is dysmenorrhea, the medical term for painful menstrual period caused by uterine contractions.  Other symptoms, according to a Bayer primer, are non-cyclic pelvic pain, dyspareunia (painful intercouse), dysuria (pain when urinating), dyschesia (obstructed defecating syndrome), fatigue, and subfertility.   

Medical treatments are recommended for the management of pain post-surgery. 

    For treatment, the consensus recommends hormonal treatment for patients with no immediate pregnancy desires.  

   These treatments should be individually tailored by considering women’s presentation and therapeutic need. Medical treatment such as the use of GnRHa and progestin are also recommended for early treatment, and management of pain post-surgery. 

   “While the consensus is useful in guiding healthcare providers to recommend patient-centric treatment options, there is also a need for us to leverage the right platforms to educate women on endometriosis, empowering them to voice out their pain and seek treatment early by making informed decisions about their condition. 

   “These efforts are testament to our long-standing commitment to support our healthcare providers and patients, and ultimately improve women’s health,” added Catherine Donovan, Vice President Head of Medical Affairs Asia-Pacific, Bayer Pharmaceuticals Asia-Pacific. 

   Angela Aguilar, Past President of the Philippine Society for Reproductive Medicine and co-author of the “Clinical Diagnosis and Early Medical Management for Endometriosis: Consensus for Asia” said, “This is a huge progress in the management of endometriosis. 

   “Through this consensus, early diagnosis and better treatment options will be made available for women to help them achieve an overall improvement in quality of life.    Healthcare providers will be more equipped to deliver patient-centric care and help alleviate the burden brought about by this condition.” 

   The consensus serves as a summation of deliberations by clinicians with expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis, where they convened in 2019 to critically evaluate evidence, international guidelines and consensus reports around the clinical diagnosis and early medical management of endometriosis in Asia.  

   Besides proposing an algorithm that utilizes both clinical diagnosis and early medical therapy which will require further evaluation to assess its effectiveness in diagnosis and patient outcomes, the work also provides guidance on clinical diagnosis and early empiric treatment. 

   Similar to ESHRE’s 2022 guidelines, the consensus suggests that laparoscopy is no longer considered the diagnostic gold standard. Instead, it proposes focusing on patient history and clinical examination to decrease diagnostic delay, especially in low resource settings. 

Bayer increases women’s access to modern contraception, promotes benefits of less cases of maternal deaths, unwanted pregnancies, child mortality

March 15, 2022

While pursuing research to find new treatment options for gynecological diseases with a high unmet medical need, Bayer is also working on addressing women’s health needs during menopause.

   For more than 50 years, Bayer has supported educational programs and rights-based family planning in more than 130 countries, particularly by increasing access to modern forms of contraception.

   In 2019, Bayer pledged to provide 100 million women in low-and-middle-income countries with access to family planning by 2030.

    This initiative is part of Bayer’s comprehensive set of sustainability measures and commitments and in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) .

   “We believe every girl and woman deserves the chance to determine her own future. That’s why Bayer is partnering with local and international organizations, such as the United Nations Population Fund and the United States Agency for International Development, to empower women to make informed decisions about family planning,” said Mildred Nadah Pita, Head of Global Healthcare Programs/Sustainability Middle Africa at Bayer.

   “With Bayer’s commitment to provide 100 million women in low- and middle-income countries with access to modern contraception by 2030, we are making an important contribution to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals by improving the health, rights and economic status of women around the world, which is a fundamental prerequisite for greater equality, education and prosperity for all.”

   As part of this commitment, Bayer recently announced an investment of over €400 million in new production facilities for long-acting reversible contraceptives, including the construction of a new production site in Alajuela, Costa Rica and the expansion of production capabilities in Turku, Finland.

Shaping women’s health from menarche to menopause

  Elinzanetant, a non[1]hormonal development compound, is currently being investigated in the Phase III clinical development program OASIS for the treatment of vasomotor symptoms during menopause.

   “Every year 47 million women enter menopause, a period where women are at the peak of their life’s activity, personally and professionally. With increased longevity, maintaining functional ability and good quality of life is extremely relevant from both a healthcare and a socio-economic perspective. Unfortunately, menopause remains a taboo topic, leaving many women untreated,” said Cecilia Caetano, MD, Head of Medical Affairs Menopause at Bayer.    

   “With our strong heritage and deeply rooted expertise in women’s health, we continue to focus on providing innovative science, solutions and education to support the individual health need of women.”

Batas upang isa institusyon ang online learning isinulong ng isang think tank na pang edukasyon

10 Abril 2021

Melody Mendoza Aguiba

   Isinulong ng isang think tank sa edukasyon na gawing pormal na institusyon ang “online” o “blended” na pamamaraan ng pag-aaral.

   Sa pag uudyok na rin ng sitwasyon dulot ng pandemyang Covid 19,  napilitan ang mga paaralan sa Pilipinas na yakapin ang online na paraan ng pag-aaral.

   Mula sa resulta ng mga pananaliksik ukol sa online learning, isinulong ng  Educational Policy Research and Development Center (EPRDC) ang isang lehislatura na naglalayong gawing pormal na institusyon ang online na edukasyon o ang tinatawag na pinaghalo o “blended” na edukasyon.   

   Ayon sa Department of Education (DepEd), ang blended learning ay parehong niyayakap ang tradisyonal na personal na harapan na pag-aaral (face-to-face learning) at ang pag-gamit ng radyo at telebisyon sa pag-aaral.

   At ngayon ay kasama na rin sa mga medium na ito ang mga internet platforms o online na medium.

   Sinabi ng EPRDC na mula sa ekstensibong pag aaral ng Philippine Normal University (PNU), napag alaman na ang online na edukasyon ay “nagbubunga ng pina-igting na pagiging masigasig sa pag-aaral sa mga batang mag-aaral sa halos lahat ng baitang.”

   Ang pananaliksik na ito ng EPRDC-PNU ay napag obserbahan sa loob ng sampung (10) taon. Ang pag aaral ay pinag sama-sama ni Dr.  Edna Luz Raymundo-Abulon.

Blended Learning. Hango sa Let’s Learn English

   Inihayag pa nang may diin ng EPRDC-PNU na maaring mapaglabanan ng Pilipinas ang phenomenon na “brain drain” sa pamamagitan ng ganitong bagong teknolohiya.  Ang brain drain ay ang pagkaubos ng mga Pilipinong skilled na piniling mag abroad.

   “Ang brain drain phenomenon — kung saan ang mga Pilipinong guro ay pinipili na mag-trabaho sa ibang bansa kaysa dito — ay dulot ng mababang sahod.  Ito rin ay dahil sa kakulangan ng oportunidad sa paglago ng propesyon sa Pilipinas,” ayon sa think tank.

   Ang pananaliksik ng PNU ay napapaloob sa walumpu’t sya (89) na nai-lathalang pag aaral.  Ito rin ay kinikilala ng mga refereed scientific journals o kinalalahukan ng mga batikang siyentista.  Sakop nito ay tatlumpu’t walong (38) proyektong pananaliksik. 

   Ito ay isinagawa ng mga propesyunal na guro ng PNU na nagsimula pa noong 2010 hanggang 2020.

   Ang pagaaral ni Balagtas et al. (2018), halimbawa na, ay nagpakita na ang teknolohiya sa pamamagitan ng blended modality sa mataas na paaralan sa kolehiyo ay napatunayang epektibo.  Ito ay partikular na sa pagtuturo sa Learning Management Systems (LMS).   

   Ang LMS ay isang programa sa computer o software para patakbuhin ang isang programang pang edukasyon na ang layon ay magturo ng skills o ng trabahong pang-kabuhayan o kakayahan.

   Sa pag aaral naman ni Sarmiento at Prudente, napag-alaman na isang praktikal na gamit ng MyOpenMath, isa ring software o programa sa computer, ay pigilan ang pangongopya ng mga mag aaral sa sagot o homework ng iba.

   Sa isa pang pag aaral sa PNU (nila Mancao, Morales, Abulon, Ermita at David), ipinakita na ang mga mag aaral ay may positibong perception o pananaw  sa pag gamit ng online na pagtuturo kahalo ang pagtuturo sa silid-paaralan (classroom). 

DepEd Blended Learning Mode

   Naniniwala ang mga mag aaral na ang blended learning  ay isang epektibo at mahusay na paraan na matuto ng mga kursong pang kolehiyo.

   Masaya at nakaka-aliw ring paraan para matuto ang online learning, ayon sa isang pananaliksik mula sa sa isang klase ng Teacher Education Institution (TEI).  Ang TEI ay may layon na mag hubog ng skills ng mga guro.

   “Ang pag gamit ng low-cost tablets (portable computers) – online o offline man – ay isinagawa ng isang semester sa isang TEI.  Napag alaman rito na ang online learning ay naging masayang paraan para matuto gamit ang tablet at mga apps (Cacho et. Al., 2017.”

   Ang pag gamit ng smartphones, sa loob man ng klase o pagkatapos ng klase, ay sinubukan ng mga pre-service na guro (Cacho 2017).

“Ini-ugnay ng pag aaral na ito ang mabisang pag-gamit ng mga apps sa android phones sa epektibong pag-alam ng mga mag aaral ng mga mahalagang kaalaman o heneral na impormasyon.   May pagkakaisa ang mga mag-aaral sa mga aktibidad na nangangailangan ng  collaborative o pagtulung-tulong sa pagaaral.”

   Subalit sa kabila ng masidhing pagnanais ng mga mag-aaral sa kolehiyo sa pag-gamit ng ganitong teknolohiya, ang nagiging balakid ay ang kawalan ng mga qualified na guro na may kasanayang gumamit ng mga software at hardware.

   Kasama na rin  nito ang prublema sa kakulangan ng mga gadgets at koneksyon sa internet na isa sa mga pangunahing balakid.

   Ang pag-aaral ni Mancao et al. noong 2015 ay nagsabi, “Kailangan ng angkop na tulong ng mga unibersidad sa pagsasagawa ng ganitong pedagohiya o bagong pamamaraan ng pagtuturo.   Kailangan na magkaroon ng mga standard templates, class schedules, at mga alituntunin sa online learning.“

   “Sa bawat makabagong istratehiya, kailangan muna ang sapat na pasilidad at mga guro na may kaalaman at mastery.  Dapat rin lumahok ang mga mag-aaral upang ang mga alintuntunin ay masunod.“

   Maari rin matugunan ng blended learning ang suliranin sa kakulangan ng mga silid paaralan.  Ang ideyal na size ng klase ay dalawampu (20) hanggang tatlumpu (30).

   Sa kabila nito, hindi kakaiba na makakita ng klase na may apatnapung (40) mag-aaral sa mababang paaralan.

   “Isang pagaaral ang nagsuri  ng pamamaraan ng pagtuturo na epektibo sa malaking klase (Reyes & Dumanhug, 2015).   Ito rin ay may kinalaman sa blended learning,” sabi ni Abulon.

   Ang isa pang mahalagang pasilidad sa pag-aaral sa mataas na paaralan ay ang online library, ayon kay Abulon.

   Ang PNU mismo ay may web-based research management system.  Ito ay bahagi ng research portal ng PNU. Mayroon itong mabilis at may sistemang paraan sa pagmo-monitor ng lahat ng sipi ng mga pananaliksik ng PNU.

   Nanawagan rin ang EPRDC-PNU na siguruhin ng gubyerno na ang curriculum sa mataas na paaralan ay tumutugon sa pangkasalukuyang pangangailangan ng mga mamamayan.

   Sinabi raw ni Anito and Morales sa isang report na, “Ang archaic (o makalumang) paraan ay hindi na tumutugon sa kanyang mga hangarin.” (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)

Bayer donates Php 2.7 million to Philippine Red Cross for Typhoon Odette operation

Typhoon Odette relief operations

February 3, 2022

Bayer is supporting communities impacted by Typhoon Odette with a donation of Php 2.7 million to the Philippine Red Cross (PRC). The donation will be used by the PRC to address the urgent need of families in evacuation centers and typhoon affected areas for clean drinking water and food.

   “Seeing the impact of Typhoon Odette and the severe damage on so many homes and livelihoods in the process – it was without question that Bayer would support relief efforts through organizations like the Philippine Red Cross. We want to help enable access to food and clean drinking water which are necessary for good health” said Angel Michael Evangelista, Managing Director for Bayer Philippines, Inc.

   The PRC is a foremost humanitarian organization actively aiding families whose homes and livelihoods were either partially or totally damaged by the typhoon.

   “On behalf of the staff and volunteers of the Philippine Red Cross, we would like to thank Bayer for their humanitarian aid. Bayer is certainly a company we’ve worked with in the past for Typhoons Yolanda and Ulysses” said PRC Chairman and CEO Senator Richard Gordon.

   “Typhoon Odette must not be a forgotten disaster. With this donation from Bayer, we clearly see that there are still good companies who are conscious of their social responsibility and helping people in need.”

Virtual turnover call between Bayer Philippines Inc. Managing Director Angel Michael Evangelista, Bayer Communications Manager Nadira Abubakar, and the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Chairman and CEO Senator Richard Gordon, PRC Secretary Secretary General Elizabeth Zavalla, and PRC Fund Generation Manager Michael Jalbuena

   As a life science company, Bayer provides solutions in pharmaceuticals, consumer health, and in agriculture. “Our vision at Bayer is ‘health for all, hunger for none’, and this aligns with what we want to achieve both as an organization and as individuals,” added Evangelista.

   According to PRC Secretary General Elizabeth Zavalla, they aim to provide aid to 29,900 families in the form of shelter and cash, to give food and non-food items to 20,000 families, and supply as much water as needed. So far they have provided over 4 million liters of water in the affected areas of Cebu, Bohol, Siargao Island, Agusan del Norte, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Lanao del Norte, Surigao del Norte, Palawan, Lapu-Lapu, and Southern Leyte.

Bayer- Red Cross aids in Cebu’s restoration

   In line with its vision of “Health for all, hunger for none”, Bayer also donated Php 4 million in 2020 during Typhoon Ulysses, and donated products in 2013 during Typhoon Yolanda to the PRC.