MorphoSys and Merck Serono Enter Strategic Immuno-Oncology Collaboration
*Co-development and license agreement that complements and further expands
Merck Serono's immuno-oncology portfolio
*MorphoSys' Ylanthia next-generation antibody technology to be leveraged
for the rapid identification of inhibitors against immune checkpoints
Martinsried / Munich, Germany, June 12, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- MorphoSys AG
(FSE: MOR; Prime Standard Segment, TecDAX, OTC: MPSYY) and Merck today
announced that they have signed an agreement to discover and develop
therapeutic antibodies against undisclosed immune checkpoints.
Under the terms of the agreement, MorphoSys and Merck Serono, the
biopharmaceutical division of Merck, will join forces to develop therapies
that modulate the immune system's natural ability to fight tumors. MorphoSys,
a leader in fully human antibody technologies, will apply its proprietary
Ylanthia® antibody phage library and technology platform to identify
antibodies against the targets of interest. Merck Serono with its strong
portfolio and capabilities in the field of immuno-oncology and clinical
development will be fully responsible for execution of development from Phase
"The establishment of partnerships with companies with innovative technology
platforms is an integral part of Merck Serono's strategy to further expand
upon our already diverse immuno-oncology portfolio," said Dr. Helen Sabzevari,
Senior VP of Immuno-Oncology at Merck Serono. "Combining Merck Serono's
extensive expertise in immuno-oncology with MorphoSys's next-generation
antibody technology provides us with an exciting opportunity to rapidly
generate novel therapies with a clear potential to benefit cancer patients."
"Therapeutic agents in the immuno-oncology field are set to transform cancer
therapy, and we are delighted to work with Merck Serono in this area",
commented Dr. Simon Moroney, Chief Executive Officer of MorphoSys. "We believe
that our Ylanthia technology has the potential to provide truly differentiated
antibodies against the targets that will be the subject of the collaboration.
Merck Serono's expertise in immuno-oncology, together with their strength in
developing and commercializing therapeutic antibodies make them an ideal
partner for MorphoSys."
With this partnership, Merck Serono, is committed to strengthen its existing
portfolio of cancer immunotherapies that work as monotherapies or in
combination with other therapeutic modalities. The company's immuno-oncology
pipeline assets currently investigated in clinical trials span from Phase 1 to
Phase 3 for the treatment of different cancer types, including tecemotide, a
MUC1 antigen-specific cancer immunotherapy, the two immunocytokines NHS-IL2
(MSB0010445) and NHS-IL12 (MSB0010360), and the monoclonal antibody anti-PD-L1
(MSB0010718C). Beyond this, Merck Serono has built a robust pre-clinical
pipeline in the three innovation clusters therapeutic cancer vaccines, cancer
stem cells, and tumor immunotolerance.
Under the terms of the co-development and license agreement, MorphoSys will
co-fund research & development costs with the option to opt-out at predefined
stages. MorphoSys will be eligible to receive development and commercial
milestone payments, and in addition, tiered royalties on product sales that
will reflect the extent of MorphoSys co-funding. Merck Serono will have sole
responsibility for commercializing of any resulting products. Further
financial details are not being disclosed.
MorphoSys developed HuCAL, the most successful antibody library technology in
the pharmaceutical industry. By successfully applying this and other patented
technologies, MorphoSys has become a leader in the field of therapeutic
antibodies, one of the fastest-growing drug classes in human healthcare.
Together with its pharmaceutical partners, MorphoSys has built a therapeutic
pipeline of more than 80 human antibody drug candidates for the treatment of
cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and Alzheimer's disease, to name just a few.
With its ongoing commitment to new antibody technology and drug development,
MorphoSys is focused on making the healthcare products of tomorrow. MorphoSys
is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange under the symbol MOR. For regular
updates about MorphoSys, visit http://www.morphosys.com
HuCAL®, HuCAL GOLD®, HuCAL PLATINUM®, CysDisplay®, RapMAT®, arYla® and
Ylanthia® and 100 billion high potentials® are registered trademarks of
Slonomics® is a registered trademark of Sloning BioTechnology GmbH, a
subsidiary of MorphoSys AG.
About Merck Serono
Merck Serono is the biopharmaceutical division of Merck. With headquarters in
Darmstadt, Germany, Merck Serono offers leading brands in 150 countries to
help patients with cancer, multiple sclerosis, infertility, endocrine and
metabolic disorders as well as cardiovascular diseases. In the United States
and Canada, EMD Serono operates as a separately incorporated subsidiary of
Merck Serono discovers, develops, manufactures and markets prescription
medicines of both chemical and biological origin in specialist indications. We
have an enduring commitment to deliver novel therapies in our core focus areas
of neurology, oncology, immuno-oncology and immunology.
For more information, please visit www.merckserono.com.
Merck is a leading company for innovative and top-quality high-tech products
in the pharmaceutical and chemical sectors. With its four divisions Merck
Serono, Consumer Health, Performance Materials and Merck Millipore, Merck
generated total revenues of € 11.1 billion in 2013. Around 38,000 Merck
employees work in 66 countries to improve the quality of life for patients, to
further the success of customers and to help meet global challenges. Merck is
the world's oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company - since 1668, the
company has stood for innovation, business success and responsible
entrepreneurship. Holding an approximately 70 percent interest, the founding
family remains the majority owner of the company to this day. Merck,
Darmstadt, Germany is holding the global rights to the Merck name and brand.
The only exceptions are Canada and the United States, where the company is
known as EMD.
Clinical candidates are currently under clinical investigation and have not
been approved for use in the U.S., Europe, Canada, or elsewhere. These
candidates have not been proven to be either safe or effective and any claims
of safety and effectiveness can be made only after regulatory review of the
data and approval of the labeled claims.
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.
For more information, please contact:
Dr. Claudia Gutjahr-Löser
Head of Corporate Communications & IR
Associate Director Corporate Communications & IR
Specialist Corporate Communications & IR
Specialist Corporate Communications & IR
Tel: +49 (0) 89 / 899 27-404
Dr. Andrea Marquart
Tel. +49 6151 72-6517
Media Release (PDF) http://hugin.info/130295/R/1792122/616736.pdf
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