Merck and BigHat BioSciences Partner on Drug Discovery Programs

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In the Lab eNewsletter, Pharmaceutical Technology's In the Lab eNewsletter, January 2023, Volume 18, Issue 1

Merck will use BigHat’s AI/machine learning-enabled platform to design candidates for up to three drug discovery programs.

Merck, known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, and BigHat BioSciences, a biotechnology company specializing in machine learning (ML)-guided antibody discovery and development, announced a research collaboration on Nov. 29, 2022 in which Merck will use BigHat’s Milliner platform to design candidates for up to three drug discovery programs.

According to a company press release, the Milliner platform combines high-speed characterization with ML capabilities to engineer antibodies with more complex functions and better biophysical properties. The goal of this approach is to reduce the difficulty of optimizing antibodies and other therapeutics.

“We are excited to begin this collaboration to advance next-generation antibody therapeutics to patients,” said Elizabeth Schwarzbach, chief business officer, BigHat, in the press release. "This agreement with Merck brings us a major step closer to our goal of [three to five] deep collaborations with leading biopharma [companies] to complement our internal therapeutic pipeline."


“This agreement with BigHat expands Merck’s strategy of applying AI [artificial intelligence]/ML across our drug discovery capabilities,” said Juan Alvarez, vice-president of Biologics Discovery, Merck Research Laboratories, in the release. “We look forward to working with the team to leverage BigHat’s technology and expertise in enabling molecular design of novel biologic candidates."

Source: BigHat Biosciences