GlaxoSmithKline has agreed to develop and commercialize novel bispecific antibodies enabled through Zymeworks’ Azymetric™ drug discovery platform, in a deal that could generate up to $908 million-plus for Zymeworks.
GSK will have the option to develop and commercialize multiple bispecific drugs across different disease areas, Zymeworks said today in announcing the collaboration—the second launched by the companies in the past in the past 5 months.
Bispecific antibodies developed using the Azymetric™ platform are designed to resemble conventional monospecific antibodies while being able to bind simultaneously to two different targets, resulting in additive or synergistic therapeutic responses. According to Zymeworks, Azymetric™ antibodies spontaneously assemble into a single molecule with two different Fab domains consisting of unique heavy- and light-chain pairings.
GSK agreed to pay Zymeworks $36 million in upfront and preclinical payments. Zymeworks is also eligible for up to $152 million in payments from AstraZeneca tied to achieving development and clinical milestones, plus commercial sales milestone payments of up to $720 million, and tiered royalties on potential sales.
“The proceeds from this collaboration will be used to advance our pipeline of therapeutic candidates, including the Azymetric™ antibody ZW25 and the Azymetric™ antibody drug conjugate ZW33, into human clinical trials this year,” Zymeworks President and CEO Ali Tehrani, Ph.D., said in a statement.
Dr. Tehrani added that proceeds will also be used to support the continued expansion and strengthening of Zymeworks’ core capabilities in antibody discovery, protein engineering, and antibody drug conjugates.
Back in December, GSK agreed to use Zymeworks’ Effector Function Enhancement and Control Technology (EFECT™) platform to design and commercialize new Fc-engineered monoclonal and bispecific antibody drugs, under an up-to-$440 million collaboration launched by the companies.
Through its latest licensing accord with Zymeworks, GSK gained the right to combine the Azymetric™ platform with novel engineered Fc domains developed through EFECT.