First HuCAL-based Antibody Targeting Cancer Stem Cells Reaches Clinical Development
MorphoSys AG (FSE: MOR; Prime Standard Segment, TecDAX) announced today that it has received a milestone payment from OncoMed Pharmaceuticals in connection with the initiation of a Phase 1 clinical trial with a HuCAL-derived, fully human antibody. The antibody OMP-59R5, which is part of OncoMed's Notch pathway collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline, is now being evaluated in a Phase 1 trial in the US in patients with advanced solid tumors. Preclinical studies have demonstrated that OMP-59R5 decreases the frequency of tumor-initiating cells across a variety of tumor types.
"This promising new program is MorphoSys's first HuCAL drug candidate targeting a validated cancer stem cell pathway," commented Dr. Marlies Sproll, Chief Scientific Officer of MorphoSys AG. "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."
"The advancement into clinical studies of this novel antibody targeting Notch receptors provides a demonstration of our success in applying the HuCAL antibody technology to novel drug discovery," said Paul Hastings, President and Chief Executive Officer of OncoMed Pharmaceuticals Inc. "OMP-59R5 is the second of OncoMed's rapidly emerging pipeline of protein therapeutics targeting cancer stem cells to enter clinical studies and, as such, represents a major achievement for our company."
In June 2006, MorphoSys and US-based biopharmaceutical company OncoMed Pharmaceuticals announced the signing of a license agreement on the use of MorphoSys's HuCAL technology in the research and development 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 up to five HuCAL-derived therapeutic antibodies.
MorphoSys's clinical pipeline now comprises ten partnered programs in Phase 1 and five in Phase 2 development as well as the Company's proprietary programs MOR103, which is in a Phase 1b/2a trial for rheumatoid arthritis, and MOR208, which is in a Phase 1 trial for chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
MorphoSys is an independent biotechnology company that develops novel antibodies for therapeutic, diagnostic and research applications. The Company's HuCAL technology is one of the most powerful methods available for generating fully human antibodies. By successfully applying this and other proprietary technologies, MorphoSys has become a leader in the field of therapeutic antibodies, one of the fastest-growing drug classes in human health-care. Through its alliances with some of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies, MorphoSys has created a pipeline of more than 60 drug candidates. The Company is expanding its drug pipeline by adding new partnered programs, and by building a portfolio of fully-owned therapeutic antibodies. For its proprietary portfolio, the Company is focused on the areas of oncology and inflammation. Its most advanced program MOR103, a first-in-class, fully human antibody against GM-CSF, is currently being tested in a Phase Ib/IIa trial in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Via its business unit AbD Serotec, MorphoSys is expanding the reach of its technologies in the diagnostics and research markets. MorphoSys is headquartered in Munich, Germany and listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange under the symbol "MOR". For further information, visit http://www.morphosys.com/
HuCAL®, HuCAL GOLD®, HuCAL PLATINUM®, CysDisplay® and RapMAT® are registered trademarks of MorphoSys; arYlaTM is a trademark of MorphoSys.
This communication contains certain forward-looking statements concerning the MorphoSys group of companies. The forward-looking statements contained herein represent the judgment of MorphoSys as of the date of this release and involve risks and uncertainties. Should actual conditions differ from the Company's assumptions, actual results and actions may differ from those anticipated. MorphoSys does not intend to update any of these forward-looking statements as far as the wording of the relevant press release is concerned.
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