Zymeworks said today it has opened a 10,000-square-foot laboratory in Vancouver, BC, Canada, designed to centralize, and thus speed up, processes involved in its discovery research efforts.

Zymeworks said the new lab will increase its internal control over discovery research, as well as antibody generation, medicinal chemistry, and bioconjugation for generating antibody–drug conjugates, and the development of multifunctional proteins.

The value of the new lab was not disclosed.

“As the Zymeworks family continues to grow, so do our requirements, and the capabilities our new lab provides demonstrate our commitment to efficiently advance and expand our therapeutic pipeline,” Zymeworks president and CEO Ali Tehrani, Ph.D., said in a statement. “Zymeworks’ new lab is an investment in our future. It will enable us to perform our own internal research and development in a fully integrated manner.”

Added John Babcook, Zymeworks svp, discovery research: “The cutting-edge technology in the new lab facility creates in-house synergies in the process of identifying lead therapeutic candidates that can be advanced to the clinic.”

The opening of the new lab follows a spate of collaborations inked with pharma and biotech giants over the past 3 years. On January 5, Zymeworks said it will receive an undisclosed payment from Eli Lilly after achieving a research milestone in a second immune-modulating bispecific antibody using Zymeworks’ Azymetric™ drug discovery platform. The companies launched their collaboration in January 2014, then valued at up to $187 million, and expanded it a year later, nearly doubling its value to $375 million.

In April, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) agreed to develop and commercialize novel bispecific antibodies enabled through Azymetric, in a deal that could generate up to $908 million-plus for Zymeworks. In addition to GSK, Zymeworks has an alliance with Daiichi Sankyo launched in September; an up-to-$164 million-per-candidate collaboration with Celgene begun in 2015, as well as a partnership with Merck & Co. stretching back to 2011.

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