Celgene Forms Bi-Specific Antibody Pact

Celgene Inc. has formed a collaboration and licensing agreement with the biopharmaceutical company, Zymeworks, for the research, development, and commercialization of bi-specific antibody therapeutics enabled using Zymeworks' proprietary Azymetric platform.

Under the agreement, Zymeworks and Celgene will collaborate on the research and development of multiple bi-specific antibodies based on the Azymetric platform. Celgene will have the option to advance the resulting bi-specific candidates through clinical development and subsequent commercialization. Zymeworks will receive an initial upfront payment, as well as an equity investment from Celgene. Zymeworks is eligible to receive clinical, regulatory, and commercial milestones on successful candidates totaling up to $164 million per therapeutic candidate. Additionally, Zymeworks will receive royalties on worldwide net sales. Further financial details were not disclosed.

Bi-specific antibodies developed using the Azymetric platform resemble conventional mono-specific antibodies while being able to simultaneously bind to two different targets, thereby resulting in additive or synergistic therapeutic responses. Azymetric antibodies spontaneously assemble into a single molecule with two different Fab domains comprising of unique heavy and light chain pairings. Azymetric antibodies are manufactured using conventional monoclonal antibody processes and can also be easily adapted to rapidly screen target and sequence combinations for bi-specific activities in the final therapeutic format, according to information from Zymeworks.

Zymeworks, based in Vancouver, Canada, is a privately held biotherapeutics company that is developing Azymetric bi-specific antibodies and antibody drug conjugates for the treatment of oncology, autoimmunity, and inflammatory diseases. Zymeworks is focused on accelerating its preclinical biotherapeutics pipeline through in-house research and development programs and strategic collaborations.

Source: Zymeworks

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