The biotechnology firm BigHat Biosciences, Inc., which has a platform for machine learning-guided antibody discovery and development, today announced a partnership with Merck, which is known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada. The two companies will work together to use the technology of the company to create candidates for up to three drug discovery programs.
ML and high-speed characterization are used in Milliner, a design platform from BigHat, to create antibodies with more complicated functionalities and superior biophysical characteristics. This strategy could make it easier to optimize therapeutic proteins like antibodies.
As part of the partnership, BigHat and Merck will work together to synthesize, express, purify, and characterize compounds using BigHat’s platform in order to optimize up to three proteins. “We are excited to be cooperating with Merck’s world-class drug development teams to build safer, more efficient antibodies for these essential therapeutic initiatives,” said Mark DePristo, co-founder and CEO of BigHat.
The teams have started working on the first program and are eager to produce top-notch lead antibodies by combining the complementing skill sets of each research team. Elizabeth Schwarzbach, BigHat’s chief business officer, stated, “We are eager to start this cooperation to push next-generation antibody therapies to patients.” “This Merck deal takes us much closer to our target of 3-5 strong partnerships with prominent biopharma to complement our internal treatment pipeline,” says the company.
According to Juan Alvarez, vice president of biologics discovery at Merck Research Laboratories, “this cooperation with BigHat advances Merck’s approach of deploying AI/ML throughout our drug development capabilities.” We are eager to collaborate with the team to take use of BigHat’s knowledge and technology to enable the molecular design of innovative biologic candidates.
About BigHat Biosciences, Inc.
Using machine learning and synthetic biology, BigHat Biosciences creates antibody therapeutics for patients that are safer and more effective. To direct the hunt for superior antibodies, BigHat combines a wet lab for high-speed characterization with machine learning technology. Utilizing these design skills, they create new generations of safer and more efficient medicines for patients dealing with the most difficult diseases of the day. Outside of San Francisco, BigHat is a Series B biotech with a collaborative, welcoming, and family-friendly culture. BigHat’s extensive therapeutic portfolio includes both wholly-owned and joint venture products and covers a wide range of indications with significant unmet medical needs, including cancer, inflammation, and infectious diseases. Top investors including Section 32, a16z, and 8VC have contributed more than $100 million to BigHat.