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Sutro Biopharma Collaborates with Merck to Develop Therapeutics for Cancer and Autoimmune Disorders

Sutro Biopharma, Inc.,  has signed a collaboration and licensing agreement with Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, to discover and develop novel immune-modulating therapies for cancer and autoimmune disorders.

The research and development activities will leverage Sutro's proprietary cell-free protein synthesis and site-specific conjugation platforms, which facilitate precision design and rapid empirical optimization of protein conjugates, to discover and develop best-in-class immune-modulating cytokine derivatives for both oncology and autoimmune indications.

Under the agreement, Sutro will be primarily responsible for preclinical research and Merck will gain exclusive worldwide rights to therapeutic candidates derived from the collaboration.

Sutro will receive an upfront payment of $60 million and is eligible for milestone payments totaling up to $1.6 billion associated with the development and sale of all therapeutic candidates and all possible indications identified under the collaboration, as well as tiered royalties on the sale of products.

"There's an urgent need for novel, targeted and well-tolerated therapies with improved therapeutic profiles for cancer and autoimmune disease," Sutro CEO Bill Newell said.

Dr. Joe Miletich, Senior Vice President, Discovery, Preclinical and Early Development, Merck Research Laboratories, said: "Sutro has an impressive suite of technologies that make possible the discovery, characterization and manufacture of novel therapeutic proteins in a timely manner. We look forward to collaborating with Sutro to further expand our pipeline of promising candidates targeting oncology and autoimmune diseases."