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GEN News Highlights : Sep 2, 2010

MorphoSys Seals Bacterial Target Deal with Absynth to Develop MRSA Antibodies

Firm aims to develop anti-infective candidates and outlicense them to industry partners.

MorphoSys negotiated a license and collaboration agreement with Absynth Biologics that will give it access to the latter's novel targets for use in development of antibody therapeutic candidates against Staphylococcus aureus infections including MRSA. Under terms of the deal MorphoSys will generate antibodies to the targets using its HuCAL Platinum antibody platform.

U.K.-based Absynth will test the antibodies in relevant disease models, and MorphoSys will have sole responsibility for the development and partnering of relevant therapeutic candidates. The agreement marks MorphoSys’ first move into the anti-infectives field.

“The targets identified by Absynth represent a unique opportunity to generate value rather quickly and create outlicensing opportunities much earlier than in the areas of cancer and inflammation, which remain however the main focus for our discovery and development organization,” states Simon Moroney, Ph.D., MorphoSys CEO. “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 program for subsequent development.”

Anti-infectives firm Absynth was founded in 2007 to commercialize IP developed at the University of Sheffield. The firm is exploiting its technology platform to identify highly conserved bacterial targets, both for the development of vaccines for prophyactic use, and for the development of antibody therapeutics.