Zymeworks said it will use the HuTARG™ platform of Innovative Targeting Solutions (ITS) to help identify and develop therapeutics directed toward “challenging” disease targets, through a research collaboration that could generate up to $65 million-plus for ITS.

HuTARG™ is a first-in-class protein engineering platform, Zymeworks said, and the first fully mammalian technology allowing for the generation and affinity maturation of highly potent protein-based biologics. The platform generates antibody diversity in vitro via RAG1/RAG2-mediated recombination of the variable, diversity, and joining [V(D)J] genes.

Zymeworks said HuTARG would complement its efforts in the discovery, research, and development of novel biotherapeutics.

“We view the HuTARG™ platform as a leading technology for the discovery and generation of therapeutic antibodies,” Zymeworks President and CEO Ali Tehrani, Ph.D., said in a statement. “This further strengthens our in-house antibody discovery capabilities and accelerates the development of Zymeworks’ novel bispecific and multifunctional biologics and drug conjugates.”

Under the companies’ collaboration and license agreement, Zymeworks said yesterday, it agreed to pay ITS a “technology licensing fee” to integrate and use the HuTARG™ platform; up to $65 million in clinical and commercial milestone payments per product developed would be paid on successful development and commercialization as well as low single-digit royalties on net sales.

Zymeworks focuses on developing best-in-class Azymetric™ bispecific antibodies and antibody drug conjugates for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune and inflammatory diseases using its Azymetric drug discovery platform.

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