MorphoSys inks deal with GSK for anti-inflammatory drug worth more than $577M potentially

MorphoSys signs global license agreement with GlaxoSmithKline for anti-inflammatory program MOR103 for $577 million plus royalties if the drug makes it to market

Jeffrey Bouley
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MARTINSRIED, Gremany & MUNCHEN, Gremany—MorphoSys AG and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) have entered into a global agreement todevelopand commercialize MOR103, which is MorphoSys's proprietary HuCAL-derivedantibody against GM-CSF, which has concluded Phase I/II development in mildtomoderate rheumatoid arthritis.
Under the terms of the agreement, GSK will assume responsibility for allsubsequent development and commercialization of MOR103. As part of theagreement, MorphoSys receives an immediate upfront payment of €22.5million.On achievement of certain developmental, regulatory, commercial andsales-based milestones, MorphoSys would be eligible to receive additionalpayments from GSKof up to €423 million. All told, this comes to as much as $577 million potentially, not including the potential for tiered, double-digit royalties onnetsales.
"This transaction is a major milestone for MorphoSys. Our goal was tosecure anagreement with a company having the commitment and expertise to turn MOR103intoa successful drug, and in GSK we have clearly found such a partner. We hopethisalliance will result in a significant return on investment for the MOR103program and to become a major value driver for MorphoSys," said Dr.SimonMoroney, CEO of MorphoSys AG.
"Today's announcement clearly illustrates our ability to take proprietaryprograms from target to clinical proof of concept and an attractivepartnership.The preclinical and clinical data we have generated show that MOR103 hasthepotential to offer new treatment options for rheumatoid arthritis. We alsobelieve that this molecule has potential in other indications as well. I'mdelighted that with this agreement, MOR103 will progress to the next stageinits development," added Dr. Arndt Schottelius, chief development officer ofMorphoSys AG.
MOR103 has concluded a Phase I study in healthy volunteers and a Phase I/IIclinical trial in mild to moderate rheumatoid arthritis patients.Additionally,MOR103 is currently being evaluated in a Phase Ib dose-escalation safetystudyin multiple sclerosis.
As a result of the transaction, MorphoSys increased its financial guidancefor2013. MorphoSys expects revenues of approximately €68 million to €72million (previously €48 million to €52 million)
SOURCE: MorphoSys/GSK news release

Jeffrey Bouley

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