He studied chemistry and in 1924 received his doctorate at the University of Frankfurt am Main at Julius von Braun. In 1937 he discovered the polyaddition for the synthesis of polyurethanes and later a way for the direct synthesis of acrylonitrile for the production of polyacrylonitrile.
From 1933 he worked in various management positions in institutions, the board and then the Supervisory Board of Bayer AG, Leverkusen. Otto Bayer is not related to Friedrich Bayer, founder of the Bayer AG.
For his work in the field of technical polymer synthesis and for the development of new engineering materials ( Polyurethanes ) he got together with Walter Reppe and Karl Ziegler 1960 the Werner -von- Siemens-Ring.
In his will, Otto Bayer decreed the establishment of the Otto Bayer Foundation, which regularly gives Otto Bayer Award since 1984. He was a member of the Catholic Student Association KDSt.V Alania Bonn.