Zymeworks Inc. and Kairos Therapeutics Inc., both privately-held biotech companies headquartered in Vancouver, announced today they have entered into a strategic partnership.

Zymeworks has made an undisclosed equity investment in Kairos which specializes in the discovery and development of antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) and is a spin-out of The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD).

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.

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 cancer with increased potency and efficacy while reducing toxic side-effects.

Ali Tehrani, Ph.D., President and CEO of Zymeworks commented:

“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. 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.”

John Babcook, President and Chief Scientific Officer of Kairos said:

“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. 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.”

CDRD President and CEO, Karimah Es Sabar added:

“We are proud of the Kairos ADC 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.”

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