Zymeworks, a privately held biotherapeutics company developing best-in-class Azymetric™ bi-specific antibodies, multi-specific antibodies and antibody drug conjugates for the treatment of cancer, and Kairos Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company with a proprietary next-generation antibody-drug conjugate platform based on novel toxin, linker, and site-specific conjugation technology, have entered into a strategic partnership whereby Zymeworks, has made an undisclosed equity investment in Kairos.  The company is a spin-out of The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), Canada’s national drug development and commercialization organization addressing one of the biggest challenges facing the life sciences sector today: how to translate commercially promising health research conducted at the university level into innovative new therapies that improve and save lives. Both companies and the CDRD are headquartered in Vancouver, Canada.

Under the terms of this agreement, Zymeworks and Kairos also have the option to merge to further integrate their respective platforms, resources and pipelines to accelerate the development of novel anti-cancer biotherapeutics.

Collaborations
Kairos Therapeutics is developing a pipeline of antibody-drug conjugate therapeutics based on a proprietary toxin, linker and site-specific conjugation platform. The platform, which is currently partnered through numerous collaborations, is a key contributor to personalized medicine as it allows scientists to develop therapeutics that target multiple forms of cancer with increased potency and efficacy while reducing toxic side-effects.

Complementary technologies
“We are excited to work with the team at Kairos in bringing together complementary technologies for the creation of novel and highly efficacious therapies for cancer patients,” noted Ali Tehrani, Ph.D., President and CEO of Zymeworks. “This is an excellent opportunity to leverage the therapeutic potential of ADCs in combination with our Azymetric™, AlbuCORE™, and EFECT™ platforms to help us create first-in-class biotherapeutics. This strategic investment and opportunity to integrate Kairos’ ADC platform and expertise furthers our strategy of acquiring innovative technologies that can augment internal capabilities and accelerate development programs.”

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“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.”

Canada’s drug development engine
The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), which works in partnership with academia, industry, government and foundations, provides the specialized expertise and infrastructure to identify and de-risk promising discoveries, and transform them into commercially viable investment opportunities for the private sector – and ultimately into innovative new therapies for patients. In doing so, CDRD is actively growing Canada’s national health sciences industry into a wholly-optimized generator of economic prosperity for the country.

“We are proud of the Kairos [antibody-drug conjugate development] platform and the work that has led to this agreement with Zymeworks. As Canada’s national drug development and commercialization centre, CDRD is in a unique position to provide world-class drug development infrastructure to incubate many exciting technologies, and this enabled and accelerated the development of Kairos’ novel platform. The combined forces of these two BC-based Canadian companies is a testament to the strength of this cluster and the innovation and translation capabilities in British Columbia – and across Canada,” explained CDRD President and CEO, Karimah Es Sabar.