ZymoGenetics forges $182M antibody deal with Novo

Antibodies make up one of the hottest markets for new therapeutics. For example, Novo Nordisk is slapping down $24 million in upfront cash and promising up to $157.5 million more to ZymoGenetics for an experimental antibody now tagged for the Danish company's burgeoning autoimmune diseases pipeline. ZymoGenetics, spun off from the Danish biotech in 2000, still has close relations with Novo, which owns about a third of its stock.

As Xconomy's Luke Timmerman notes, the pre-IND deal makes a lot of sense right now. ZymoGenetics has been forced to scale back, recently announcing that it will cut 15 percent of its workforce. Novo, meanwhile, is pushing the pedal to the metal on its autoimmune programs. ZymoGenetics can snare U.S. co-promotion rights if it decides to pick up part of the Phase III costs.

"While the IL-21 monoclonal antibody is an exciting molecule, we believe for our company that other development programs have a better return on investment profile," said ZymoGenetics CEO Doug Williams. "We believe that Novo Nordisk will be able to develop and create value for this asset."

- check out the ZymoGenetics release 
- read the story from Xconomy