BigHat Biosciences Announces Research Collaboration with Merck

BigHat Biosciences, Inc. today announced a collaboration with Merck, known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, to apply the company’s technology to design candidates for up to three drug discovery programs.

Collaboration leverages BigHat’s AI-enabled platform to expedite protein engineering to design and develop novel therapeutic candidates

SAN MATEO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- BigHat Biosciences, Inc., a biotechnology company with a machine learning-guided antibody discovery and development platform, today announced a collaboration with Merck & Co., known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, to apply the company’s technology to design candidates for up to three drug discovery programs.

BigHat’s design platform, Milliner, integrates a high-speed characterization with ML technologies to engineer antibodies with more complex functions and better biophysical properties. This approach could help reduce the difficulty of optimizing antibodies and other therapeutic proteins.

Under the collaboration, BigHat and Merck will collaborate to optimize up to three proteins by leveraging BigHat’s platform to synthesize, express, purify, and characterize molecules. Mark DePristo, co-founder and CEO of BigHat, continued, “We are thrilled to be collaborating with Merck’s world-class drug development teams to design safer, more effective antibodies for these important therapeutic programs.”

The teams have initiated work on the first program and are looking forward to using the power of the complementary skills sets within each research team to generate high-quality lead antibodies. “We are excited to begin this collaboration to advance next-generation antibody therapeutics to patients,” said Elizabeth Schwarzbach, BigHat’s Chief Business Officer. “This agreement with Merck brings us a major step closer to our goal of 3-5 deep collaborations with leading biopharmas to complement our internal therapeutic pipeline.”

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

About BigHat Biosciences, Inc.
BigHat Biosciences is designing safer, more effective antibody therapies for patients using machine learning and synthetic biology. BigHat integrates a wet lab for high-speed characterization with machine learning technologies to guide the search for better antibodies. They apply these design capabilities to develop new generations of safer and more effective treatments for patients suffering from today’s most challenging diseases. BigHat is a Series B biotech outside San Francisco with a team-oriented, inclusive, and family-friendly culture. BigHat’s broad pipeline of wholly-owned and partnered therapeutic programs span many disparate indications with high unmet need, such as cancer, inflammation, and infectious disease. BigHat has raised over $100M from top investors, including Section 32, a16z, and 8VC. For more information, visit


BigHat: Elizabeth Schwarzbach,

Source: BigHat Biosciences, Inc.