Zymeworks has entered into a worldwide licensing and collaboration agreement with ImClone Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Eli Lilly, to develop a number of bi-specific antibody oncology therapeutics using Zymeworks’ Azymetric™ platform.

As part of the agreement, Zymeworks will receive an undisclosed up-front fee, research support, and is eligible to receive research, development, and commercial milestones in addition to tiered royalty payments on future product sales. Lilly will have exclusive worldwide commercialization rights to the antibodies derived from the collaboration, according to the company.

Bi-specific antibodies have the potential to provide improved outcomes for patients by simultaneously targeting two tumor associated antigens to induce a synergistic therapeutic response, the company said.

In the last two years, Zymeworks has received two undisclosed milestone payments from a bi-specific antibodies collaboration with Merck that launched in August 2011. Merck was granted a worldwide license to develop and commercialize bi-specific antibodies generated through use of the Azymetric™ platform toward exclusive therapeutic targets.

Under terms of the Merck deal, Zymeworks received an up-front fee and could earn research, development, and regulatory milestones of up to $187 million.

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