GSK, Zymeworks Sign $908 Million Bi-Specific Antibody Deal
Zymeworks Inc., a developer of bi-specific and multi-specific antibodies and antibody drug conjugates, has entered into a new licensing agreement with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) for the research, development, and commercialization of bi-specific antibodies enabled using Zymeworks' Azymetric drug discovery platform. Under the agreement, GSK will have the option to develop and commercialize multiple bi-specific drugs across different disease areas. Zymeworks will receive upfront and preclinical payments of up to $36 million and is eligible to receive up to $152 million in development and clinical milestone payments, along with commercial sales milestone payments of up to $720 million, and tiered royalties on potential sales.
As previously announced in December 2015, Zymeworks and GSK entered into a collaboration and license agreement to further develop Zymeworks' Effector Function Enhancement and Control Technology (EFECT) platform and to research, develop, and commercialize novel Fc-engineered monoclonal and bi-specific antibody therapeutics that have been optimized for specific therapeutic effects. As part of this second agreement, GSK has also gained the right to combine the Azymetric platform with engineered Fc domains developed under the previously announced collaboration.
Bi-specific antibodies developed using the Azymetric platform resemble conventional mono-specific antibodies while being able to simultaneously bind to two different targets 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 adapted to screen target and sequence combinations for bi-specific activities in the final therapeutic format.
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 bi-specific antibodies to further enable the customization of therapeutic responses for different diseases.