Pearl Bio Inks Collaboration with Merck to Discover Novel Engineered Biologics

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#biomedicalengineeringPearl Bio (a synthetic biology company backed by Khosla Ventures) today announced that it has entered a license, collaboration and option agreement with Merck, known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, to discover biologic therapies comprising non-standard amino acids. Bolstering this collaboration is the deep expertise and patent portfolio licensed from the labs of scientific co-founders, Farren Isaacs (Yale) and Michael Jewett (Stanford) for using Genomically Recoded Organisms (GROs) to encode synthetic chemistries, paving the road for entirely new classes of multi-functionalized biologics with tunable properties.

The collaboration will initially focus on discovery and development of biologic therapies for the treatment of cancer leveraging Pearl’s exclusive GRO technology, unique ability to work in both cell-based and cell-free systems and proprietary tethered ribosomes to encode synthetic monomers and target previously inaccessible epitopes.

“We are excited to demonstrate the power of Pearl’s technology in our partnership with Merck to create multi-functionalized therapeutic candidates with tunable properties solving for some of the key shortcomings confronting biologics,” explained Co-Founder and President, Amy Cayne Schwartz.

Under the agreement, Pearl is eligible to receive payments totaling up to $1B across upfront, option and milestone payments in addition to potential royalties on sales of approved products derived from the collaboration.

“Merck is excited to collaborate with Pearl, a pioneer in developing recoded organisms, to produce novel biologics enabled by synthetic chemistries,” shared Juan Alvarez, Vice President of Discovery Biologics at Merck Research Laboratories.

About Pearl Bio

Backed by Khosla Ventures, Pearl Bio was launched by Scientific Co-Founders Drs. Farren Isaacs (Yale), Michael Jewett (Stanford), and Amy Cayne Schwartz, J.D. (Pearl Bio) bringing together an exclusive platform technology to advance multi-functionalized biologics and biomaterials by encoding synthetic chemistries. The company has rapidly advanced capabilities in-house and through pharmaceutical partnerships. Pearl Bio may be followed at: Twitter:


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Amy Cayne Schwartz

Pearl Bio, Inc.

(917) 848-9907 mobile