Merck and Absci to Work Together on New Research

Pharma Tech Outlook: Pharma Tech Magazine

Merck and Absci to Work Together on New Research

Pharma Tech Outlook | Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Merck and Absci collaborate to maximize the potential of Abscis's Deep Learning-Enabled Drug Creation" and Bionic Protein" technologies.

FREMONT, CA: Over the last 50 years, collaborative research has become more widespread globally, and academics are increasingly forced to collaborate across disciplines, organizations, and countries. “We are very pleased to establish this collaboration with Merck and to be working with its world-class research organization to generate novel enzymes. We look forward to applying our AI-driven platform to create new biologic candidates with the potential to meaningfully improve the lives of patients,” comments Sean McClain, founder and CEO of Absci. Absci Corporation, a drug and target discovery company that leverages deep learning AI and synthetic biology to extend the therapeutic potential of proteins, has entered into a research collaboration with Merck to leverage Abscis's AI-powered Integrated Drug Creation Platform. Drug discovery is one of the fields that can benefit significantly from deep learning's success. Drug development is a time-consuming and expensive process, and deep learning can accelerate and reduce costs.

Absci will use its Bionic Protein" non-standard amino acid technology to develop enzymes targeted to Merck's biomanufacturing applications and will earn an upfront payment and certain other milestone payments as part of the agreement. Additionally, Merck may nominate up to three targets and engage in a drug development cooperation agreement, with Absci entitled to collect up to $610 million in upfront fees and milestone payments and research funds and tiered royalties sales, for all three targets.

“At Merck we are continually evaluating new ways to build, expand and refine our biologics capabilities,” states Dr. Fiona Marshall, senior vice president and head of discovery, preclinical and translation medicine, Merck Research Laboratories. “Absci’s platform offers a compelling opportunity to design new biologic candidates and explore the expression of complex proteins.”

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