B.C. Industry News

Zymeworks inks major licensing deal, raises $15 million

January 9, 2014

By Nelson Bennett- Business in Vancouver

Vancouver biotech Zymeworks Inc. has raised $15 million through a sale of common shares and has inked a licensing and collaboration deal with a subsidiary of American pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly.

Under the agreement, ImClone Systems – a subsidiary of Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE:LLY) – will use Zymeworks’ proprietary Azymetric platform to develop protein therapeutics for treating various types of cancer.

Zymeworks will receive an undisclosed up-front fee and research funding and Eli Lilly will have global commercialization rights to new antibodies developed through the collaboration.

“This goes to show the interest of Big Pharma in technologies that are developed in B.C.,” Zymeworks founder and CEO Ali Tehrani told a LifeSciences BC breakfast meeting this morning (January 9.)

The deal with Eli Lilly is, in fact, Zymeworks’ second major collaboration agreement with a large pharmaceutical company.

In 2011, Zymeworks also signed a collaboration and licensing deal with Merck and Co. Ltd. (NYSE:MRK) worth up to US $187 million.

Separate to the recent collaboration deal with Eli Lilly, Zymeworks also announced it has concluded a $15 million private placement.

Tehrani said Zymeworks will use the financing to take some of the new drugs it is working on through clinical trials, including a new treatment for breast cancer.