Zymeworks and Daiichi Sankyo call it quits on antibody partnership

March 20, 2023

Vancouver-based multifunctional biopharma Zymeworks and leading Japanese pharma company Daiichi Sankyo have decided to end their antibody partnership after six years.

The two first announced their cross-licensing and collaboration agreement in 2016. Under the terms of their initial deal, Daiichi licensed Zymeworks’ Azymetric and Effector Function Enhancement and Control Technology (EFECT) platforms to develop up to three immuno-oncology bispecific drugs. 

They expanded their agreement in 2018 and Daiichi paid Zymeworks an upfront technology access fee of $18 million and committed to an additional $466.7 million in potential clinical, regulatory and commercial milestone payments. 

A year later in April of 2019, Daiichi exercised its option for a commercial license for one the candidates developed using the platforms, paying $3.5 million for the antibody therapeutic. The companies expanded their deal further in January 2021, and Daiichi gained licenses to develop two additional bispecific antibody therapeutics. 

According to the recent SEC filing announcing the termination of their partnership, through March 17, of 2023, Zymeworks received upfront technology access fee payments of $2 million and research and commercial option related payments totaling $4.5 million.