MorphoSys is teaming up with Emergent BioSolutions to jointly develop and commercialize ES414, an anti-PSMA/anti-CD3 bi-specific antibody targeting prostate cancer. MorphoSys is picking up worldwide commercialization rights excluding the U.S. and Canada; Emergent is retaining rights in those two nations. In exchange, MorphoSys is paying Emergent $20 million upfront, and Emergent will be eligible to receive milestone payments of up to $163 million.

MorphoSys will handle 64% and Emergent 36% of the total costs. Emergent will manufacture and supply clinical material from its facilities in Baltimore, and will receive low single-digit royalties on product sales in MorphoSys' territory. MorphoSys will receive tiered royalties from mid-single digit up to 20% on product sales in Emergent's territory.

The candidate, which will be renamed MOR209/ES414, was developed by Emergent using its ADAPTIR™ (modular protein technology) platform. The firms say MOR209/ES414 was able in preclinical trials to redirect T-cell cytotoxicity toward prostate cancer cells expressing prostate-specific membrane antigen. They are planning to start a Phase I trial evaluating the candidate in patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer within the next six months. 

“The preclinical data suggest that the molecule has a number of potential advantages over other drug candidates [for prostate cancer],” MorphoSys's chief development officer Arndt Schottelius, M.D., Ph.D., said in a statement. “Our goal is to combine our capabilities with those of Emergent to enable the fastest possible development and commercialization of MOR209/ES414.”

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