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Sep 22, 2011

Zymeworks Secures $8.1M to Advance Antibody and Protein Therapeutics

  • Zymeworks completed an $8.1 million financing to be used toward advancing its Azymetric™, AlbuCORE™ and Effect™ platforms as well as developing its protein therapeutics pipeline in the areas of cancer, autoimmunity, and inflammatory diseases.

    The Azymetric antibody scaffold and AlbuCORE protein scaffold are designed to enable development of bi-specific antibodies and multivalent protein therapeutics targeted across a range of indications. Azymetric is an IgG1-based heterodimeric antibody scaffold consisting of two different heavy chains engineered to exclusively assemble into a single molecule, allowing bi-specific binding to two different antigens or drug targets. AlbuCORE allows the engineering of multivalent therapeutics capable of controlled crosslinking across disease targets and effectors.

    Effect (effector function enhancement and control technology) enables the enhancement or suppression of antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity, whose modulation can allow for therapeutic efficacy and lower dosing.

    Zymeworks disclosed the financing some three weeks after announcing that it granted Merck a worldwide license to develop and commercialize bi-specific antibodies generated by the Azymetric platform toward certain exclusive therapeutic targets.

    Merck agreed to advance the antibody candidates through clinical development. Zymeworks will receive an up-front fee and is eligible for up to $187 million in payments based on meeting research, development, and regulatory milestones. It could also earn tiered royalty payments on product sales. Merck retains exclusive, worldwide commercialization rights to products derived from the collaboration.

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