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Zymeworks Announces License Agreement with Johnson & Johnson Innovation to Develop and Commercialize Next Generation Bispecific Antibody Therapeutics
Nov 13, 2017
 

VANCOUVER, British Columbia--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Zymeworks Inc. (NYSE/TSX: ZYME), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery, development and commercialization of next-generation multifunctional biotherapeutics, today announced it has executed a licensing agreement with Janssen Biotech, Inc. (“Janssen”), one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. The deal was facilitated by Johnson & Johnson Innovation.

Under the terms of the licensing agreement, Zymeworks will provide Janssen with a worldwide, royalty-bearing license to research, develop, and commercialize up to six bispecific antibodies directed to Janssen therapeutic targets using Zymeworks’ Azymetric™ and EFECT™ platforms. Janssen will be responsible for all research, development, and commercial activities under the licensing agreement. Zymeworks will receive an upfront payment of US$50 million and is eligible to potentially receive up to US$282 million in development and up to US$1.12 billion in commercial milestone payments, and tiered royalties on potential sales. Janssen also has the option to develop two additional bispecific programs under the agreement subject to a future option payment.

“We are very pleased to be partnering with Janssen and their world-class scientists,” said Dr. Ali Tehrani, President and CEO of Zymeworks. “This marks our sixth major pharmaceutical partnership and the first since our wholly-owned bispecific product candidate ZW25, which is enabled with the Azymetric™ platform, entered clinical trials. The proceeds from this collaboration will be primarily used to fund the clinical advancement of ZW25, as well as the advancement of our preclinical programs into the clinic.”

About the Azymetric™ Platform

The Azymetric™ platform enables the transformation of monospecific antibodies into bispecific antibodies, which gives them the ability to simultaneously bind two different targets. Azymetric™ bispecific technology enables the development of multifunctional biotherapeutics that can block multiple signaling pathways, recruit immune cells to tumors, enhance receptor clustering degradation, and increase tumor-specific targeting leading to greater efficacy while reducing toxicities and the potential for drug-resistance. Azymetric™ bispecifics have been engineered to retain the desirable drug-like qualities of naturally occurring antibodies, including low immunogenicity, long half-life and high stability, and are also compatible with standard manufacturing processes with high yields and purity, thereby significantly reducing drug development costs and timelines.

About the EFECT™ Platform

The EFECT™ platform is a library of antibody Fc modifications engineered to modulate the activity of the antibody-mediated immune response, which includes both the up and down-regulation of effector functions. This platform is compatible with traditional monoclonal as well as Azymetric™ bispecific antibodies to further enable the customization of therapeutic responses for different diseases.

About Zymeworks Inc.

Zymeworks is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery, development and commercialization of next-generation multifunctional biotherapeutics. Zymeworks’ suite of complementary therapeutic platforms and its fully-integrated drug development engine provide the flexibility and compatibility to precisely engineer and develop highly-differentiated product candidates. Zymeworks’ lead product candidate, ZW25, is a novel bispecific antibody currently being evaluated in an adaptive Phase 1 clinical trial. Zymeworks is also advancing a deep pipeline of preclinical product candidates and discovery-stage programs in immuno-oncology and other therapeutic areas. In addition to Zymeworks’ wholly-owned pipeline, its therapeutic platforms have been further leveraged through multiple strategic partnerships with global biopharmaceutical companies.