NRC and Zymeworks partner to develop ground-breaking Canadian therapies for the fight against cancer

March 18, 2014 – Zymeworks Inc.

A New Strategic Collaborative Agreement for the Development of Biotherapeutics

Toronto, ON, and Vancouver, BC – The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and Zymeworks Inc., a Canadian biotherapeutics company and a world leader in antibody therapeutics, are proud to announce a strategic collaborative agreement for a continued innovative business alliance.

This three-year multi-million dollar agreement will focus on developing ground-breaking therapies for the fight against cancer, as well as inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Zymeworks will gain access to NRC’s unique expertise, scientific facilities, and know-how which will complement Zymeworks’ existing capabilities in the development and deployment of innovative products for local and international markets in areas of significant unmet medical need.

This partnership strengthens Zymeworks position as a strong global competitor in biotherapeutics development and is a clear demonstration of Canada’s commitment to R&D for a prosperous economy.

Quick Facts

To date, NRC labs have produced and characterized over 6000 virtually-designed proteins for Zymeworks. NRC is able to customise characterization assays and analytical methods to meet Zymeworks needs and greatly accelerate their therapeutics and platform developments.
Since the start of its collaboration with NRC, Zymeworks has utilized the NRC’s facilities and expertise in the progression of its innovative approach in protein engineering and optimization from an in silico concept to the development of lead biological therapies in treating solid tumours and haematological diseases.
Since 2008, Zymeworks has more than tripled its workforce (to 42 employees) and created high quality jobs for Canadians.


“This R&D agreement between the National Research Council and Zymeworks highlights our government’s commitment to innovative research and keeping our country competitive. Like so many businesses in Vancouver, Zymeworks is doing some really ground-breaking work that will help Canadians, particularly those suffering from cancer.”

James Moore, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for British Columbia

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“As the nation’s leading research and technology organization, the National Research Council adds value to co-developed biologics, vaccines and biomarkers, de-risks their development, and accelerates their progress to market, thereby stimulating sustainable prosperity for its partners and the Canadian economy. This business alliance between NRC and Zymeworks is a tangible example of our key role in promoting R&D innovation and improving Canada’s marketplace nationally and aboard.”

Dr. Roman Szumski, Vice-President of Life Sciences, National Research Council of Canada

“The National Research Council plays an important role in Zymeworks’ continued development of best-in-class biotherapeutics and technology platforms. By putting this collaborative agreement in place where all facets of innovation, intellectual property, and risk-sharing are managed, we are looking forward to building on our existing relationship and quickly advancing groundbreaking therapies to the clinic and ultimately to patients with unmet medical needs.”

Ali Tehrani, President and Chief Executive Officer, Zymeworks

Additional links

• About Zymeworks
• About NRC’s R&D in human health therapeutics

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Media Relations Team
National Research Council of Canada
1-855-282-1637 (24/7)
Twitter: @nrc_cnrc

David Poon
Director, External R&D and Alliances
Zymeworks Inc.