MorphoSys Adds HIBio to Busy Collaboration Week


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MorphoSys is having a busy week after entering an equity participation agreement with Human Immunology Biosciences (HIBio) two days after signing a supply agreement and clinical collaboration with Pfizer and Incyte

MorphoSys signed an equity participation and licensing deal with HIBio to develop and commercialize two cancer drug candidates: felzartamab and MOR210.

Felzartamab is a novel human monoclonal antibody taken from MorphoSys' HuCAL antibody library to specifically target CD38. It is currently being explored in several studies for two types of kidney disease that have limited treatment options: immunoglobulin A nephropathy (IgAN) and anti-PLA2R antibody-positive membranous nephropathy (aMN).

MorphoSys partnered with I-Mab Biopharma in 2017 to develop and commercialize felzartamab in greater China, where the drug is being evaluated for systemic lupus erythematosus and relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma.

The other drug candidate, MOR210, is a human antibody derived from HuCAL technology to target C5aR1, which is prominent in many autoimmune and immuno-oncology diseases. The drug is already sublicensed in South Korea and Greater China to I-Mab, which is investigating its efficacy against relapsed or refractory advanced solid tumors.

Both MOR210 and felzartamab have not yet been approved for any indication by regulatory authorities.

Under the terms of the latest deal, HIBio will have exclusive rights to develop and commercialize both candidate drugs across all indications worldwide, except in Greater China and South Korea. Aside from receiving $15 million upfront, MorphoSys will get a 15% equity stake in HiBio, as well as seats on the board. When certain milestones are achieved, MorphoSys stands to receive as much as $1 billion from both programs and royalties on net sales.

"At HIBio, we are discovering and developing transformative precision therapies for patients with autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. We are excited that we've reached this deal with MorphoSys, which will allow us to realize the potential of felzartamab and MOR210 across multiple autoimmune diseases," Travis Murdoch, M.D., CEO of HIBio, said.

News of the deal comes the same week as the announcement that MorphoSys U.S., a MorphoSys subsidiary, signed a supply agreement and clinical trial collaboration with Pfizer and Incyte to explore treatment solutions for patients with relapsed or refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) who are not eligible for autologous stem cell transplantation.

The agreement explores the use of Pfizer's TTI-622 with Monjuvi (tafasitamab-cxix) plus lenalidomide for DLBCL. Monjuvi is a CD19-directed immunotherapy drug that Incyte and MorphySys developed through a $1.1 billion agreement signed in 2020.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration previously approved Monjuvi with lenalidomide for adult patients with relapsed or refractory DLBC, the regulator's first approval of a second-line treatment for the said indication.

"We believe that the addition of novel immunotherapies, such as the investigational anti-CD47 blocking agent TTI-622, to the backbone of Monjuvi plus lenalidomide, have the potential to provide new meaningful combination treatment options for patients with relapsed or refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma," Malte Peters, M.D., MorphoSys chief research and development officer, commented.

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