Zymeworks inks $187M Merck deal on bi-specific antibodies

Vancouver-based Zymeworks has struck a deal to put its platform technology to work developing bi-specific antibodies for Merck. The biotech gets an unspecified upfront payment, $187 million in potential milestones and tiered royalties on any approved drugs.

Zymeworks' bi-specific antibodies are designed to bind to two different targets, making them effective against a pair of ailments such as cancer and autoimmune disorders. "Zymeworks' technology platform has the potential to provide a unique solution for engineering novel antibodies," said Richard Murray, senior vice president, biologics research at Merck.

"This is an important validation of our scientific leadership in the field of structure-guided protein engineering," Zymeworks' CEO Ali Tehrani said, "and we look forward to working with Merck to [realize] the full value of this novel platform technology across a range of therapeutic indications."

- here's the Zymeworks release