Zymeworks opens new research labs in Vancouver

The demand for more space comes after the biotech struck deals with a series of Big Pharmas

In-demand Zymeworks is boosting its lab space with a new 10,000-square-foot facility in Vancouver, Canada, as it doubles down on its recent spate of biopharma deals.

The biotech, which is focused on producing bi-specific antibodies in cancer, says that the new lab will centralize its research while also giving it “increased control over discovery research, antibody generation, medicinal chemistry and bioconjugation for generating antibody drug conjugates, and the development of multi-functional proteins.”

 “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,” said Dr. Ali Tehrani, president and CEO.  

“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.”

John Babcook, SVP of discovery research at Zymeworks, added: “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. We continue to work to be a leader in the biotherapeutics space with the goal of making a meaningful impact in the lives of patients.”

This comes after a string of deals and the need for more working space, deals that include a potential $908 million pact with GSK struck back in April last year that sees the London Big Pharma gain access to its Azymetric bispecific drug platform, with similar deals set up with Celgene last year and Lilly over the past two years, while also having a long-standing pact with Merck.

Last summer, it also penned an R&D collab with the University of Victoria and the BC Cancer Agency to develop engineered cytokine and cytokine receptor pairs. A year ago, it raised just under $62 million in a healthy round.

The Canadian biotech is working on delivering bispecific antibodies, treatments that have been attracting considerable interest among drug developers looking to engage two targets at once.