VANCOUVER, British Columbia--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Zymeworks Inc. (“Zymeworks”), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery, development and commercialization of next-generation multifunctional biotherapeutics, initially focused on the treatment of cancer, today announced the successful achievement of a research milestone in a second immune-modulating bispecific antibody in its collaboration with Eli Lilly and Company (“Lilly”) using Zymeworks’ proprietary Azymetric™ platform. In accordance with the terms of the licensing and collaboration agreement, Zymeworks is to receive an undisclosed milestone payment from Lilly.
“This is the second research milestone we have reached as part of our collaboration with Lilly, and we are excited with the progress that has been made to ultimately bring novel immunotherapies towards the clinic,” said Dr. Ali Tehrani, President & CEO of Zymeworks. “We believe that the achievement of another successful milestone further validates our Azymetric™ platform as a generator of leading-edge bispecific antibody therapeutics, and we look forward to the continued advancement of other therapeutic programs under our agreements with Lilly.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Zymeworks has granted Lilly a worldwide, royalty-bearing license to research, develop and commercialize certain bispecific therapeutic candidates toward Lilly’s therapeutic targets. For this program, Zymeworks is eligible to receive further development and commercial milestone payments as well as tiered royalties on product sales.
About the Azymetric™ Platform
The Azymetric™ platform consists of a library of proprietary amino acid substitutions that enable the transformation of monospecific antibodies into bispecific antibodies, which gives them the ability to simultaneously bind two non-overlapping epitopes, or antigens. Azymetric™ bispecific technology enables the development of biotherapeutics with dual-targeting of receptors/ligands and simultaneous blockade of multiple signaling pathways, increasing tumor-specific targeting and efficacy while reducing toxicities and the potential for drug-resistance. Additionally, the dual-targeting of Azymetric™ antibodies has demonstrated synergistic efficacy in preclinical studies through simultaneous binding relative to the application of an equivalent dose of the corresponding monospecific antibodies. Azymetric™ bispecifics can also be engineered to enhance internalization of the antibody into the tumor cell and consequently increase the delivery of cytotoxic payloads.
First-generation bispecific platforms significantly alter the structure of monoclonal antibodies or rely upon complex and proprietary manufacturing processes. Azymetric™ bispecifics, in contrast, retain the desirable drug-like qualities of monoclonal antibodies, including long half-life, stability and low immunogenic potential, which increases their probability of success. Azymetric™ bispecifics are also compatible with standard manufacturing processes with high yields and purity, which accelerates manufacturing timelines and reduces costs.
About Zymeworks Inc.
Zymeworks is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery, development and commercialization of next-generation multifunctional biotherapeutics, initially focused on the treatment of cancer. 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.