Emergent BioSolutions Inc. and MorphoSys AG have entered an agreement for the joint development and commercialization of Emergent’s preclinical bi-specific antibody, ES414, targeting prostate cancer. Emergent will receive an upfront payment of $20 million and milestone payments of as much as $163 million for the successful development of ES414 in several indications.
Emergent developed ES414 using its ADAPTIR modular protein technology platform. Preclinical studies have shown that ES414 redirects T-cell cytotoxicity towards prostate cancer cells expressing Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen (PSMA), an antigen commonly found on such cells. Emergent and MorphoSys plan to initiate a Phase I trial in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) within the next six months.
The companies will jointly develop ES414, with MorphoSys bearing 64% and Emergent 36% of the total costs. Emergent will retain commercialization rights in the U.S. and Canada, with a royalty obligation to MorphoSys. MorphoSys will gain worldwide commercialization rights (outside U.S. and Canada), with a royalty obligation to Emergent. Emergent will manufacture and supply clinical material from its manufacturing facilities in Baltimore, MD.
Barry Labinger, executive vice president and president, Biosciences Division at Emergent BioSolutions, said, “Emergent looks forward to collaborating with MorphoSys to potentially address important unmet needs amongst patients suffering from prostate cancer. Our companies bring complementary capabilities and a shared commitment to the highest quality development and commercialization of ES414. Progress with ES414 will help validate our ADAPTIR platform, which we believe has broad potential to generate additional novel treatments for cancer and other important diseases.”
Arndt Schottelius, chief development officer of MorphoSys, said, “We are pleased to be working with Emergent BioSolutions. We believe ES414 has the potential to be an important therapy for prostate cancer, where there is a pressing need for better treatments. The preclinical data suggest that the molecule has a number of potential advantages over other drug candidates in this indication. Our goal is to combine our capabilities with those of Emergent to enable the fastest possible development and commercialization of ES414.”