B.C. Bio Company Zymeworks Inc. and Merck Collaboration is Another Boost for Research & Development in Canada

OTTAWA, Sept. 2, 2011 /CNW/ - Rx&D President Russell Williams made the following statement regarding Merck's collaboration with Zymeworks, a privately held Vancouver biotechnology company.

"The announced agreement between Merck and Zymeworks, a Vancouver-based biotechnology company, for the development of potentially novel antibodies, offers a vivid example of the innovative scientific collaborations being developed that may reap substantial benefits for Canadians.

"These types of collaborations help to create jobs in the knowledge economy. They attract investment to Canada and to our provinces and they help to improve the quality of life of Canadians through the development of potentially new biologic therapeutic candidates.

"Zymeworks will receive an upfront fee and is eligible to receive research, development and regulatory milestones with a potential value of up to US $187 million, as well as tiered royalty payments on sales of products. Merck will have exclusive worldwide commercialization rights to products derived from the collaboration.

"This unique collaboration adds to the list of more than $400 million in investments in Canada announced by Rx&D member companies to date in 2011 that have preserved and created jobs in the life sciences sector. These investments include the creation of centres to develop new medicines and vaccines, increased manufacturing capacity and partnerships with the public sector to fund research aimed at understanding, preventing and treating disease.

"Canada will be able to attract more of these cutting edge partnerships by upgrading our intellectual property (IP) regime to better compete with the European Union, the United States and other leading nations. We urge Canada and the European Union to complete the negotiations on the proposed Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) that includes stronger IP. Previous IP improvements over the past 25 years have spurred an 800% increase in pharmaceutical research and development investment in Canada.

"We congratulate both Merck and Zymeworks for their visionary alliance that will undoubtedly lead to the development of advanced targeted biologic therapies to improve health worldwide."

About Rx&D
Rx&D is the association of leading research-based pharmaceutical companies dedicated to improving the health of Canadians through the discovery and development of new medicines and vaccines. Our community represents 15,000 men and women working for 50 member companies and invests more than $1 billion in research and development each year to fuel Canada's knowledge-based economy. Guided by our Code of Ethical Practices, our membership is committed to working in partnership with governments, healthcare professionals and stakeholders in a highly ethical manner. For more information: visit: www.canadapharma.org

About Merck
Today's Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada. Through our medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer and animal products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to healthcare through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. For more information about our operations in Canada, visit www.merck.ca.

About Zymeworks Inc.
Zymeworks is a privately held biotechnology company that is developing best-in-class antibody therapeutics for the treatment of oncology, autoimmunity and inflammatory diseases. The company's proprietary ZymeCAD™ structure-guided protein engineering technology and its novel Azymetric™ and AlbuCORE™ platforms enable the development of highly potent bi-specific antibodies and multivalent protein therapeutics targeted across a range of indications.  Zymeworks is focused on growing its preclinical biotherapeutics pipeline through in-house research and development programs and strategic collaborations. More information on Zymeworks can be found at www.zymeworks.com.

SOURCE CANADA'S RESEARCH-BASED PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES (RX

For further information:

Mike Murphy
Rx&D Media Relations
Telephone: 613.236.0455
E-mail: mmurphy@canadapharma.org

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CANADA'S RESEARCH-BASED PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES (RX&D)

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