MorphoSys AG has received milestone payments from two partners in its HuCAL-derived fully human antibody program. Pfizer delivered an undisclosed payment in connection with the IND filing in December 2010 and subsequent initiation of a Phase I trial one such antibody in the therapeutic area of oncology. MorphoSys also received payment from OncoMed when the program for antibody OMP-59R5 reached Phase I in patients with advanced solid tumors. That antibody is part of OncoMed's Notch pathway collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline.
"We are delighted to add Pfizer to the list of partner companies running clinical trials with HuCAL-based antibodies," commented Dr. Marlies Sproll, chief scientific officer of MorphoSys AG. "In total, seven different partners from the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry are currently running clinical trials with our antibodies."
MorphoSys and Pfizer originally entered a collaboration for the development of therapeutic antibodies in December 2003. In December 2006, the collaboration was expanded, giving Pfizer an option to begin several therapeutic antibody projects with MorphoSys.
OncoMed Pharmaceuticals signed a license agreement in June 2006 on the use of MorphoSys's HuCAL technology in the R&D of human therapeutic antibodies for the treatment of various cancers, including breast, lung, colon and prostate cancer, by targeting cancer stem cells. In June 2008, the collaboration was extended until the end of May 2010. The contract included an option for OncoMed to develop as many as five HuCAL-derived therapeutic antibodies.
"This promising new program with OncoMed is MorphoSys's first HuCAL drug candidate targeting a validated cancer stem cell pathway," commented Dr. Sproll. "Cancer stem cells potentially offer one of the most attractive targets for attacking a range of tumor types, making this program an exciting addition to the overall pipeline of HuCAL-based drugs. This is one of eight partnered programs that moved into the clinic in 2010."
MorphoSys's clinical pipeline currently comprises 10 partnered programs in Phase I and five in Phase II development as well as the Company's proprietary programs MOR103, which is in a Phase Ib/IIa trial for rheumatoid arthritis, and MOR208, which is in a Phase I trial for chronic lymphocytic leukemia.