Vancouver-based Zymeworks, a biotherapeutics company developing protein therapeutics for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, announced that it has raised a $61.5 million USD Series A.
The funding was led by both US and Canadian institutional investors, and was co-led by new investors BDC Capital and Lumira Capital. Existing Zymeworks investors Eli Lilly, Celgene, CTI Life Sciences Fund, and the Fonds de solidarité FTQ, as well as other new investors like Teralys Capital and Northleaf Venture Catalyst Fund also joined the fund.
“This financing provides Zymeworks the capital and resources to move multiple potentially game changing therapeutic candidates not only into the clinic, but through to meaningful clinical inflection points,” said Ali Tehrani, president and CEO of Zymeworks. “Furthermore, this financing adds the experience of seasoned U.S. and Canadian biotech investors, and demonstrates the support of our existing strategic and institutional investor base as we look forward to the next stage in our growth and evolution as a leader in the field of bispecific and multivalent antibody therapeutics.”
The funding will support clinical development of Zymeworks’ lead therapeutic candidates, ZW25 and ZW33, which the Company plans to move into clinical development later this year. Dion Madsen, senior managing partner in BDC Capital’s Healthcare Venture fund will join Zymeworks’ board of Directors, while Dr. Daniel Hétu, managing director in Lumira Capital, will join as an observer.
Zymeworks also announced that it has entered into a strategic partnership with fellow Vancouver company Kairos Therapeutics, which specializes in the discovery and development of antibody drug conjugates. Zymeworks made an undisclosed investment in Kairos, and under the agreement, Zymeworks and Kairos have the option to merge, in order to further integrate their respective platforms, resources, and pipelines that accelerate the development of novel anti-cancer biotherapeutics.
“We believe we have developed a superior antibody-drug conjugate platform which has demonstrated significant advantages over existing ADC platforms, and our proprietary approach shows promise in the development of treatments for a range of different cancers,” said John Babcook, president and chief scientific officer of Kairos. “I’m excited to bring together the complementary technologies of Kairos and Zymeworks to create cancer therapeutics that have the potential to be transformative to the lives of patients.”