MorphoSys, Celgene announce mAb deal worth up to $818 million
by Kelsey Kaustinen  |  Email the author


PLANEGG, Germany—MorphoSys AG and Celgene Corp. have announced an agreement for the joint development of MOR202, a fully human monoclonal antibody that targets CD38 for the treatment of multiple myeloma and certain leukemias. The partners will jointly develop MOR202 globally and will co-promote the compound in Europe. MorphoSys and Celgene will collaborate to develop MOR202 in multiple myeloma and other indications, sharing costs on 1/3:2/3 basis.
"Strategic investments in next generation medical innovation make it possible for physicians to turn incurable cancers like multiple myeloma into chronic, more manageable diseases," Mark Alles, executive vice president and global head of Hematology and Oncology at Celgene, commented in a statement. "This collaboration with MorphoSys enables us to rapidly advance a promising therapeutic antibody in a disease where significant progress is being made, but where patients continue to need new treatment options."
Per the terms of the agreement, Celgene will pay MorphoSys an upfront license fee of 70.8 million euros ($92 million) and will invest 46.2 million euros ($60 million) to subscribe for new shares of MorphoSys AG, which will be issued at a to-be-determined price once the transaction gains clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act and becomes effective. A premium of at least 15 percent of the closing price of the MorphoSys share prior to the signing of the agreement will be included in the share price. MorphoSys may be eligible for development, regulatory and sales milestones as well as tiered double-digit royalties on net sales outside the co-promotion area, and will retain a 50/50 profit sharing in the co-promotion territory. 

"Today's news marks our second major alliance on a proprietary compound that we have brought from target identification to clinical development. MOR202 has become a very attractive asset in our proprietary portfolio and the target CD38 is a validated, highly promising target for patients with multiple myeloma," Dr. Arndt Schottelius, chief development officer of MorphoSys AG, said in a press release. "We are looking forward to expanding and accelerating the clinical development of MOR202 in collaboration with one of the leading developers of cancer therapeutics in the field."
MOR 202 is a HuCAL antibody that targets CD38, and is currently under evaluation in a Phase I/IIa trial in patients with relapsed or refractory 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 before attracting natural killer cells to destroy the tumor cells. MOR202 has shown promising results in preclinical studies as a monotherapy and synergistic effects with both a proteasome inhibitor and lenalidomide, an oral immunomodulatory therapy.
"This alliance takes MorphoSys to the next stage of our corporate development. By moving up the value chain we have the opportunity to develop a commercial organization that expands on our significant research, development and technology expertise of today. Targeting CD38 has matured to be a highly innovative and very promising approach in multiple myeloma and we are committed to retain a larger share of the potential upside. Celgene, one of the leading innovators in multiple myeloma, is the ideal partner to develop the compound efficiently and deliver to patients with multiple myeloma worldwide," said Dr. Simon Moroney, MorphoSys' CEO.  
SOURCE: MorphoSys press release
Code: E06261300

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