MorphoSys and the University of Melbourne File New Patent Applications in MOR103 Program
MorphoSys AG (FSE: MOR; Prime Standard Segment, TecDAX) and the University of Melbourne announced today an agreement to cooperate on investigating new therapeutic applications for MorphoSys’s MOR103 program. MOR103, a HuCAL antibody against human GM-CSF (Granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor), is currently in development for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The collaboration announced today will focus on new therapeutic areas in which GM-CSF has recently been implicated in as-yet unpublished work of researchers at the University of Melbourne. As part of the expanded relationship, new patent applications have been filed, which are intended to broaden the patent position of the anti-GM-CSF approach.
Under the terms of the agreement, MorphoSys will fund research activities at the University of Melbourne in multiple new indications. The University of Melbourne will receive an upfront payment and will be entitled to research funding, clinical milestone and royalty payments. Further financial details were not disclosed.
“The University of Melbourne, and in particular the research group of Professor John Hamilton, has long been at the cutting edge of research on GM-CSF. We are excited to be able to deepen our relationship with MorphoSys and help speed the transition of these laboratory insights into clinical applications for the benefit of patients”, said Dr Charlie Day, CEO of Melbourne Ventures, the technology commercialization company for the University of Melbourne.
“Researchers at the University of Melbourne have now generated evidence for the involvement of GM-CSF in indications beyond those that were already known”, commented Dr. Arndt Schottelius, Chief Development Officer of MorphoSys AG. “We look forward to working closely with them to explore the potential of targeting GM-CSF in these additional indications, and expand still further the patent position around inhibitors of GM-CSF. Meanwhile, development of our anti-GM-CSF antibody MOR103 in RA continues according to plan.”
In 2007, MorphoSys signed an agreement with the University of Melbourne, providing the company with an exclusive license to a patent family covering therapeutic uses of inhibitors of GM-CSF. The claims of the patent are directed to methods of ameliorating the effects of inflammation by administering to a patient an antibody directed against GM-CSF. In November 2008, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) issued the patent U.S. Patent No. 7,455,836, covering key uses of antibodies against GM-CSF. Human GM-CSF is already implicated in a number of medical conditions.
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MorphoSys is a publicly traded biotechnology company focused on the generation of fully human antibodies as a means to discover and develop innovative antibody-based drugs against life-threatening diseases. MorphoSys’s goal is to establish HuCAL as the technology of choice for antibody generation in research, diagnostics and therapeutic applications. The Company currently has therapeutic and research alliances with the majority of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies including Boehringer Ingelheim, Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc./Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, Pfizer and Roche. Within these partnerships, more than 50 therapeutic antibody programs are ongoing in which MorphoSys participates through exclusive license and milestones payments as well as royalties on any end products. Additionally, MorphoSys is active in the antibody research market through its AbD Serotec business unit. The business unit has operations in Germany (Munich), the U.S. (Raleigh, NC) and U.K. (Oxford). For further information please visit http://www.morphosys.com/
About the University of Melbourne / Melbourne Ventures:
Melbourne Ventures Pty Ltd is the technology commercialisation company of the University of Melbourne, one of the top 40 Universities in the world (Times Higher Education 2008). The University of Melbourne is renowned as Australia’s leading biomedical enterprise, training more health professionals and attracting more nationally competitive grants for biomedical research than any other Australian university. A wholly owned subsidiary of the University, Melbourne Ventures provides commercialisation and IP management expertise across the full breadth of faculties and departments, and is responsible for negotiating licences and investments for the transfer and commercialisation of University developed technologies. For further information please visit our website at www.melbourneventures.com.
HuCAL®, HuCAL GOLD®, HuCAL PLATINUM® and RapMAT® are registered trademarks of MorphoSys 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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