MorphoSys, Celgene announce mAb deal worth up to $818 million

MOR202 to be developed as a treatment for multiple myeloma and select leukemias

Kelsey Kaustinen
PLANEGG, Germany—MorphoSys AG and Celgene Corp. haveannounced an agreement for the joint development of MOR202, a fully humanmonoclonal antibody that targets CD38 for the treatment of multiple myeloma andcertain leukemias. The partners will jointly develop MOR202 globally and willco-promote the compound in Europe. MorphoSys and Celgene will collaborate todevelop MOR202 in multiple myeloma and other indications, sharing costs on1/3:2/3 basis.
 
"Strategic investments in next generation medical innovationmake it possible for physicians to turn incurable cancers like multiple myelomainto chronic, more manageable diseases," Mark Alles, executive vice presidentand global head of Hematology and Oncology at Celgene, commented in astatement. "This collaboration with MorphoSys enables us to rapidly advance apromising therapeutic antibody in a disease where significant progress is beingmade, but where patients continue to need new treatment options."
 
Per the terms of the agreement, Celgene will pay MorphoSysan upfront license fee of 70.8 million euros ($92 million) and will invest 46.2million euros ($60 million) to subscribe for new shares of MorphoSys AG, whichwill be issued at a to-be-determined price once the transaction gains clearanceunder the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act and becomes effective. A premium of at least 15percent of the closing price of the MorphoSys share prior to the signing of theagreement will be included in the share price. MorphoSys may be eligible fordevelopment, regulatory and sales milestones as well as tiered double-digitroyalties on net sales outside the co-promotion area, and will retain a 50/50profit sharing in the co-promotion territory.
 

"Today's news marks our second major alliance on aproprietary compound that we have brought from target identification toclinical development. MOR202 has become a very attractive asset in our proprietaryportfolio and the target CD38 is a validated, highly promising target forpatients with multiple myeloma," Dr. Arndt Schottelius, chief developmentofficer of MorphoSys AG, said in a press release. "We are looking forward toexpanding and accelerating the clinical development of MOR202 in collaborationwith one of the leading developers of cancer therapeutics in the field."
 
MOR 202 is a HuCAL antibody that targets CD38, and iscurrently under evaluation in a Phase I/IIa trial in patients with relapsed orrefractory myeloma. CD38, a protein found on the surface of the tumor cells,acts as a target for the MOR202 antibody, which attaches to the tumor beforeattracting natural killer cells to destroy the tumor cells. MOR202 has shownpromising results in preclinical studies as a monotherapy and synergisticeffects with both a proteasome inhibitor and lenalidomide, an oralimmunomodulatory therapy.
 
"This alliance takes MorphoSys to the next stage of ourcorporate development. By moving up the value chain we have the opportunity todevelop a commercial organization that expands on our significant research,development and technology expertise of today. Targeting CD38 has matured to bea highly innovative and very promising approach in multiple myeloma and we arecommitted to retain a larger share of the potential upside. Celgene, one of theleading innovators in multiple myeloma, is the ideal partner to develop thecompound efficiently and deliver to patients with multiple myeloma worldwide,"said Dr. Simon Moroney, MorphoSys' CEO.
 
 
 
  
 
  
SOURCE: MorphoSys press release

Kelsey Kaustinen

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