15-Mar-2010

MorphoSys reaches clinical milestone in Bayer Schering Pharma cancer programme

Bayer Schering Pharma has filed all necessary documentation to initiate a Phase 1 clinical trial with a HuCAL-derived antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) in the therapeutic area of oncology. This achievement marks a significant milestone within the Bayer Schering Pharma alliance and triggers a payment to MorphoSys AG, whose HuCAL technology was used to generate the fully human antibodies.

The current programme is directed against the target molecule MN, also known as carbonic anhydrase or CA IX for short, a tumour-associated antigen expressed in many tumour types under hypoxic conditions. The antibody is the first fully human HuCAL-based ADC to enter clinical trials. ADCs comprise antibodies linked to cytotoxic drugs, and combine the targeting properties of the antibody with the cell-destroying effect of the conjugated drug. In the present programme, the HuCAL-derived antibody-drug conjugate incorporates technology licensed to Bayer Schering Pharma from Seattle Genetics.

"Today's news underlines how important our core technology is to the pharmaceutical industry's drug pipeline," said Dr Simon Moroney, ceo of MorphoSys AG "We now have clinical trials of HuCAL-based antibodies ongoing with four different pharmaceutical companies. The output of our partners' application of MorphoSys's proprietary HuCAL technology is becoming an increasingly visible and important value driver for our company."

Today's news represents the third HuCAL-derived antibody to achieve this stage during the course of the year. By the end of this year, at least three antibodies from proprietary and partnered programmes are expected to be in Phase 2 clinical trials. This programme becomes the eighth HuCAL-derived compound in all to enter clinical trials.

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