German biopharmaceutical company MorphoSys will jointly develop an antibody for the treatment of multiple myeloma (MM) and leukaemia with Celgene Corporation.
Under the deal, MorphoSys will receive an upfront license fee of €70.8m and US-based Celgene will invest €46.2m for new shares in the company.
The total potential value of the transaction, assuming all development, regulatory and sales milestones are reached, could reach to €628m.
The human monoclonal antibody MOR202 is currently being evaluated in clinical trials in patients with relapsed myeloma. MOR202 targets CD38, a protein found on the surface of tumor cells, and once attached, attracts natural killer cells in the body to identify and kill these tumor cells.
MorphoSys CEO Dr Simon Moroney commented on the deal: “Targeting CD38 has matured to be a highly innovative and very promising approach in multiple myeloma and we are committed to retain a larger share of the potential upside. Celgene, one of the leading innovators in multiple myeloma, is the ideal partner to develop the compound efficiently and deliver to patients with multiple myeloma worldwide.”
The two companies will develop MOR202 globally and co-promote the antibody in Europe.
Celgene executive vice president and global head for Hematology and Oncology Mark Alles said; “Strategic investments in next generation medical innovation make it possible for physicians to turn incurable cancers like multiple myeloma into chronic, more manageable diseases.”
“This collaboration with MorphoSys enables us to rapidly advance a promising therapeutic antibody in a disease where significant progress is being made, but where patients continue to need new treatment options.”
The agreement is subject to clearance by the US antitrust authorities under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act.