MorphoSys said today it will partner with immatics biotechnologies to develop new antibody-based immune-oncology treatments to fight multiple cancer antigens recognized by  T cells. The value of the strategic alliance was not disclosed.

The collaboration will allow MorphoSys to access several tumor-associated peptides (TUMAPs) discovered using immatics' XPRESIDENT® platform, in order to develop new antibody-based treatments against these targets in a number of solid and blood cancers.

In return, immatics will be allowed access to MorphoSys' Ylanthia® antibodies against a number of its TUMAPs, along with development rights.

The treatments to be developed by MorphoSys and immatics aim to kill tumor cells by using Ylanthia antibodies capable of targeting peptides displayed to the external environment by major histocompatibility complex (MHC) receptors.

MorphoSys and immatics have agreed to pay each other milestone payments tied to development progress, as well as unspecified royalties on marketed products.

“This alliance opens up the intracellular target space for us and thus complements the therapeutic approaches we use in other oncology programs,” MorphoSys CSO Marlies Sproll, Ph.D., said in a statement. “We believe this collaboration will create several unique product opportunities for us based on truly differentiated compounds.”

MorphoSys says its pipeline numbers more than 100 human antibody drug candidates for cancer, as well as rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, and other disorders.

Three of the company’s four clinical-phase drug candidates focus on cancer—MOR208 for B-cell malignancies, such as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and acute lymphoblastic leukemia; MOR202 for multiple myeloma and some forms of leukemia and MOR209/ES414, a prostate cancer treatment being developed through a MorphoSys collaboration with Emergent BioSolutions.

Earlier this year MorphoSys regained rights to MOR202 from Celgene after the companies “mutually agreed” to terminate a 21-month-old co-development and co-promotion agreement.

immatics focuses on developing cancer immunotherapeutics. The company’s most advanced product, IMA901, is a combination of TUMAPs designed to treat kidney cancer, and is the subject of a Phase III clinical trial that is expected to generate final results later this year.

In February, the company won a $19.7 million grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) toward development of cellular immunotherapies against targets discovered by immatics. The grant funds research being carried out by a U.S.-based subsidiary of the company with MD Anderson Cancer Center.








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