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Merck leans into AI with $610M in biobucks for Absci drug discovery pact

Updated: Feb 7, 2022

VANCOUVER, Wash., Jan. 07, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Absci Corporation (Nasdaq: ABSI), the drug and target discovery company harnessing deep learning AI and synthetic biology to expand the therapeutic potential of proteins, today announced that it has entered into a research collaboration with Merck (known as MSD outside the United States and Canada), using Absci’s AI-powered Integrated Drug Creation™ Platform.

Under the collaboration, Absci will deploy its Bionic Protein™ non-standard amino acid technology to produce enzymes tailored to Merck’s biomanufacturing applications and receive an upfront and certain other milestone payments. In addition, Merck has the option to nominate up to three targets and enter into a drug discovery collaboration agreement, and Absci would then be eligible to receive up to $610 million in upfront fees and milestone payments for all three targets, as well as research funding and tiered royalties on sales.

Sean McClain, founder and CEO of Absci, commented, “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.”

“At Merck we are continually evaluating new ways to build, expand and refine our biologics capabilities,” said 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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