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VANCOUVER, Wash., – February 22, 2021 – AbSci, a pioneering synthetic biology company that unifies biologic drug discovery and development processes, today announced a strategic equity investment by Merck Global Health Innovation Fund (Merck GHI) and potential discovery collaborations with Merck Research Laboratories.
AbSci founder and CEO Sean McClain said, “It has been terrific to work with Merck on many levels. We are pleased to be able to add value and bring solutions to tough problems. With the success of our initial projects, as well as this investment from Merck GHI, we have set in place a foundation upon which to build out a broad and mutually beneficial partnership with Merck. Everyone we have worked with at Merck shares the goal of helping the most patients with the best medicines as quickly as possible.”
“AbSci falls into a special investment allocation towards what we see as ‘Next Horizon’ technologies that have the potential to disrupt the biopharmaceutical industry,” said Prem Tumkosit, Managing Director of Merck GHI. “AbSci’s technologies may enable discovery and development of exciting new biotherapeutics that could meaningfully impact human health in the years to come.”
This partnership aligns with AbSci’s research and development activities. Key areas of focus are integration and training of the Denovium Engine deep learning artificial intelligence platform AbSci acquired in January 2021, and ongoing expansion of core discovery capabilities including non-standard amino acid technologies. AbSci’s Protein PrintingTM platform technology enables de novo biologic drug creation in a matter of weeks. It is scaffold-agnostic; by screening for initial hits in the desired full-length scaffold format, and in the cell line that will be used for manufacturing, AbSci dramatically accelerates preclinical timelines and offers avenues to create designer next-generation biologics that would not otherwise be possible.
About Merck Global Health Innovation Fund
Merck Global Health Innovation Fund (Merck GHI) is evolving corporate healthcare venture capital globally by utilizing their healthcare ecosystem strategy. This investment strategy connects innovative companies with complementary technologies to develop integrated healthcare solutions. Merck GHI has $500M under management and provides growth capital to emerging healthcare technology companies worldwide while leveraging the vast R&D-based, global resources of Merck. With a vision that data will be the currency in healthcare, Merck GHI invests broadly in digital health. Merck GHI invests in platform companies with proven technologies or business models where Merck’s expertise and perspectives can accelerate revenue growth and enhance value creation. Since late 2010, Merck GHI has made over 50 investments in Digital Health companies. www.merckghifund.com
AbSci is a leading synthetic biology company that translates ideas into drugs with a revolutionary platform technology that reinvents the biopharmaceutical drug discovery process. Our patented SoluPro® E. coli expression system and Protein Printing™ platform, informed by our deep learning Denovium Engine™, enable simultaneous creation of novel biotherapeutic drugs and the cell lines to manufacture them in a single efficient process. In one workflow, we select cell lines producing drug candidates with optimal target potency and affinity as well as high-titer expression. Starting with a known drug sequence or with a target for de novo discovery, our approach dramatically reduces biopharma discovery and development timelines from years to weeks by generating a GMP-ready manufacturing cell line for each asset. We specialize in next-generation biologics built on complex protein scaffolds, which have proven challenging for others to produce. With more than a dozen partnerships in place with top pharma and industry leaders, our collaborations include projects for drugs and drug candidates that range across multiple protein types and therapeutic functionality. For more information, please visit https://www.absci.com.