Morphotek Inc. Announces Grant Award From Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency To Develop Cell Lines For Scaleable Manufacturing Of Anti-Biowarfare Agents

EXTON, Pa., Sept. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Morphotek(R) Inc. announced today that it has been awarded a $6.3 million challenge grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to apply its proprietary morphogenics technology to develop cell lines suitable for the scaleable manufacturing of biologic-based anti-biowarfare therapies.

Biologic agents are effective medicines for the prophylactic and therapeutic treatment of human and animal diseases elicited by biowarfare pathogens. However, the ability to rapidly produce mass quantities of these agents in response to biological threat or mass exposure remains a challenge. Morphotek has a proprietary technology called morphogenics that evolves cell lines to yield sibling cells with enhanced growth and production characteristics that are suitable for rapid, large scaleable manufacturing. As part of this award Morphotek will develop optimized manufacturing cell systems for DARPA that will enable the Agency to rapidly produce large quantities of biologic therapeutics in response to mass pathogen exposure as well as for generating a drug stockpile.

"We are pleased to have received this award to employ our technologies to support our national defense initiatives," said Nicholas C. Nicolaides, Ph.D., Morphotek's President and Chief Executive Officer. "Cell lines capable of generating large quantities of product at scale are crucial for being able to respond to product demands within a narrow timeframe. Morphotek has successfully developed optimized cell lines and products for our collaborators and has employed morphogenics to build an exciting internal product pipeline. We look forward to continued success in developing optimized systems to support DARPA's biodefense initiatives."

Morphogenics is a platform technology that can reversibly regulate the DNA mismatch repair system. Mismatch repair is a process employed by all living organisms to repair naturally occurring mutations that occur during DNA replication. Morphotek has developed a broad patent estate that covers regulation of this process in single celled organisms such as bacteria, yeast and mammalian cells as well as in more complex multicellular organisms such as rodents and plants using a variety of protein and small chemical inhibitors. Morphotek has formed collaborations that implement its proprietary technology with leading academic and corporate biomedical organizations such as Abgenix, Amgen, Centocor, GlaxoSmithKline, The Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, The National Cancer Institute, Novo Nordisk, Protein Design Labs, Tanox, The Wistar Institute, Wyeth and the United States military.

Morphotek, Inc. is a biotechnology company focused on the generation of proprietary organisms for product discovery and development. The Company has a validated and patented platform technology called morphogenics that rapidly enhances the natural process of genetic evolution within a targeted host to yield variants with novel, commercially important output traits. This versatile technology has been successfully applied to microbes, plants, and mammalian cells to yield genetically diverse offspring that are suitable for pharmaceutical and agricultural product development. Morphotek also markets an antibody development platform that employs morphogenics to yield fully human, high-affinity monoclonal antibodies from high-titer hybridoma cells that significantly reduces the royalty burdens associated with recombinant technologies. Internally, Morphotek employs its technologies to develop optimized therapeutic antibodies for the treatment of cancer, inflammatory and infectious diseases. For further information visit

This grant is sponsored by the Department of the Army, U.S. Army Research Office, and the content of this release does not necessarily reflect the position or the policy of the federal government, and no official endorsement should be inferred.

Contact: Kim Ilgenfritz, Executive Director Business Development 610-423-6147

Morphotek Inc.

CONTACT: Kim Ilgenfritz, Executive Director Business Development,Morphotek, +1-610-423-6147,

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