MorphoSys and WACKER Expand Cooperation to Use WACKER’s ESETEC® Technology for Production of Antigen Material
MorphoSys AG (FSE: MOR; Prime Standard Segment, TecDAX) and Wacker Chemie AG announced today an expansion of their existing cooperation in the use of WACKER’s bacterial secretion technology ESETEC®. As a result, MorphoSys will now be able to use the WACKER technology for the production of antigen material in addition to the production of antibodies in both the early development phase of therapeutic projects as well as in the production of diagnostic and research antibodies. The technology complements MorphoSys’s existing production platforms. It could offer significant advantages with regard to the production of novel antigens, which have proven difficult to produce with conventional expression systems.
“The use of WACKER’s secretion technology for antigen production allows us to approach development programs where the production of the disease-relevant target molecule represents a major challenge. This could offer us and our partners a head-start in therapeutic projects against novel drug targets including bacterial antigens in current and future infectious disease programs”, explained Dr. Marlies Sproll, Chief Scientific Officer at MorphoSys AG. In October 2009, MorphoSys signed a first alliance focused on the discovery and development of therapeutic antibodies for hospital-acquired infections with Daiichi Sankyo.
“The extension of our existing collaboration with MorphoSys underpins the success of our protein production technology ESETEC®” said Dr. Thomas Maier, Managing Director at Wacker Biotech GmbH, Wacker Chemie AG’s subsidiary for custom manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals. “Since we introduced this innovation to the biopharmaceutical market we see that more and more companies revisit E. coli as production host to benefit from shorter development timelines”, he added.
The patented ESETEC® secretion system from WACKER, which is based on E. coli, is a tried-and-tested technology for the cost-effective production of proteins including antibody fragments. The system comprises a specific E. coli strain developed and patented by WACKER which is able to secrete recombinant proteins in their native conformation into the culture medium during fermentation. This extra-cellular production makes it easier to purify the recombinant products, and the expensive process step of refolding is also dispensed with. This means the entire production is much more efficient and cost-effective. WACKER and MorphoSys entered into an initial feasibility study agreement for the use of the WACKER secretion technology for the production of antibodies in 2005. Due to significant success, this agreement was supplemented in 2008 with a formal license to use the WACKER technology.
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 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® and RapMAT® are registered trademarks of MorphoSys AG
About Wacker Biotech
Wacker Biotech GmbH is a full-service contract manufacturer of biopharmaceuticals derived from microbial systems. Its portfolio ranges from services in molecular biology, analytical and process development, through the GMP-compliant production of clinical test material, to active pharmaceutical ingredient for commercial market supply. Above all, Wacker Biotech offers proprietary technologies that satisfy market needs for cost-efficient and high-quality production. Two examples are its E. coli-based secretion technology and its high-cell-density fermentation technology DENSETEC®. Wacker Biotech, Jena, is a wholly-owned WACKER subsidiary. Further information on Wacker Biotech GmbH is available at www.wacker.com/biologics
ESETEC® and DENSETEC® are registered trademarks of Wacker Chemie AG
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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