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GEN News Highlights : Feb 13, 2013

MorphoSys Strikes GCPR Deal with Heptares

MorphoSys and Heptares Therapeutics signed an agreement to discover novel antibody therapeutics targeting GPCRs. Heptares will generate stabilized receptors (StaRs®) for a set of GPCR disease targets proposed by MorphoSys. MorphoSys will then apply its Ylanthia antibody library to discover and develop antibody therapeutics against these StaRs.

MorphoSys will be able to sublicense access to these targets to third parties in conjunction with therapeutic antibody candidates. Heptares will receive up-front and research funding payments, plus a share of future sublicensing revenues generated by MorphoSys.

In addition, Heptares chose Ylanthia to develop and commercialize one therapeutic antibody created by MorphoSys against a GPCR target selected by Heptares. MorphoSys is eligible to receive license fees, milestones, and royalties on any Ylanthia antibody developed by Heptares.

“Technical challenges have meant that GPCRs have been largely intractable to therapeutic antibody development. We believe that by combining Heptares’ StaR platform for generating stable GPCRs as antigens with our antibody discovery technology, we will be able to unlock the immense potential of therapeutic antibodies against GPCRs,” comments Simon Moroney, Ph.D., MorphoSys’ CEO.

Heptares has been actively partnering in the GCPR field lately. Last month, the firm formed a partnership with Cubist Pharmaceuticals to find new therapeutics targeting these molecules. In November, Heptares agreed to provide the Kinetics for Drug Discovery (K4DD) Consortium with access to expertise and stabilized GPCRs as well as its broader GPCR discovery platform.