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more external sourcing of deals like the one with Zymeworks (see this recent WSJ story). Since Roger Perlmutter joined a year ago as head of R&D, many cuts have been made, and a number of senior Merck veterans have been sidelined.
Through it all, Tehrani said his collaboration with Merck didn’t miss a beat. Perlmutter, while running R&D at Amgen, was part of the team that acquired a leading bispecific antibody player in Micromet. “As has been widely reported, Roger Perlmutter is a very big fan of biologics. Everybody we were dealing with in the Merck biologics group in Palo Alto is still there,” Tehrani says.
The advantage at Zymeworks, Tehrani says, is that its technology can be used to manufacture bispecific antibodies at commercial scale, while many others can other be applied to smaller quantities needed for research. The company also received some data from animal experiments that showed a bispecific antibody for breast cancer stacked up favorably when compared to the standard trastuzumab (Herceptin) from Genentech.
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