SUMMARY: Morphosys licenses the American company for two antibodies | News

PLANEGG (dpa-AFX) – Following the costly acquisition of US oncology specialist Constellation Pharmaceuticals, MorphoSys is parting ways with more cost pools. To focus on anti-cancer drugs in the research phase, the Bavarian biotechnology company licensed the American company Human Immunology Biosciences (HIBio) for two antibody preparations and acquired a 15% stake in the company. In return, Morphosys will receive an advance of US $ 15 million (approximately € 14.4 million). In addition, there are potentially high milestone payments and possible royalties.

Investors were delighted with the news on the stock exchange: the paper, which is listed on the SDAX Small Stock Index, rose up to 8 percent in early trading on Wednesday. JPMorgan analyst James Gordon praised the prospect of additional revenue and also considered the deal to confirm two unlicensed products.

Morphosys’s share price had jumped the day before due to research collaboration with the US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. However, Morphosys is under a lot of pressure from the stock exchange: on the one hand, the sale of the most important drug, Monjuvi, did not keep up with market expectations. However, investors also fear that the company may have been bogged down in the Constellation acquisition and its associated far-reaching financing deal. Only since the beginning of the year, the price has dropped by about half.

However, Morphosys boss Jean-Paul Kress is confident of the future prospects of an oncology portfolio with key active ingredients, tafasitamab and pelabresib, to which the company is now directing all its forces.

The license agreement gives HIBio, an autoimmune and inflammatory disease specialist, the exclusive right to develop and commercialize Morphosys, felzartamab and MOR210 antibodies worldwide, for all indications. The Greater China area and, in the case of MOR210, the South Korean market, are excluded from this, he said. Here, Morphosys has licensed I-Mab Biopharma over the past few years.

Felzartamab was recently investigated by Morphosys as a possible drug for the treatment of two kidney conditions for which, according to the information, there are only limited treatment options. MOR210 is being investigated as a cancer drug.

With dry ink on contract, Morphosys has now got rid of all fund research costs: current expenses will be borne by HIBio. In addition to upfront payments of $ 15 million, stage payments of up to $ 1 billion are due at certain stages from development to commercialization. And if the funds are approved, Morphosys will participate in net sales with multi-tier royalties ranging from one to low two-digit percentages. Upon joining HIBio, headquartered in San Francisco, SDax will sit on its executive body, the Board of Directors.

Bavarians can make good use of this income because research into the most important cancer drugs is expensive. In addition, Morphosys will lose some royalties in connection with the Constellation acquisition, which the group will pass on to its funding partner, Royalty Pharma. In the first quarter, Morphosys declined even further: the loss tripled compared to the previous year to almost EUR 123 million.

One of the most important hopes of Morphosys is the active ingredient tafasitamab, the already approved blood cancer drug Monjuvi, which is being tested for other indications. Another pivotal study of Constellation’s Pelabresib is ongoing and is being tested against a rare bone marrow fibrosis./tav/stw/jha/

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