MorphoSys signs anti-bacterial deal with Absynth

Secures access to innovative targets associated with Staphylococcus aureus infections

German biotechnology company MorphoSys has signed a license and collaboration agreement with UK-based Absynth Biologics that will give it access to novel target molecules associated with Staphylococcus aureus infections including MRSA.

Under the terms of the deal MorphoSys will generate antibodies to the targets using its proprietary HuCAL Platinum antibody library. Absynth, based in Sheffield, will test the antibodies in relevant disease models, while MorphoSys takes sole responsibility for the development and partnering of the resulting compounds.

Absynth will receive an upfront payment and is eligible for milestone payments and royalties. Further financial details were not disclosed.

‘The targets identified by Absynth represent a unique opportunity to generate value rather quickly and create out-licensing opportunities much earlier than in the areas of cancer and inflammation,’ said Simon Moroney, chief executive of MorphoSys.

‘Our goal is to create a valuable package of proprietary targets together with high-affinity antibodies, supported by compelling data, which will allow us to partner the programme for subsequent development.’

Absynth’s genomics-based approach allows identification of previously overlooked targets, such as bacterial components, which are crucial to the organism, conserved across different bacterial strains and accessible for antibodies. Absynth has demonstrated that monoclonal antibodies against the targets in-licensed by MorphoSys inhibit the growth of S. aureus and recruit the human immune system to eliminate bacteria via phagocytosis.

Absynth has filed patent applications on all targets involved in the collaboration.

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