MorphoSys and Xencor Collaborate on Clinical Antibody Program

July 6, 2010

MorphoSys, AG (Munich, Germany) and biopharmaceutical company Xencor, Inc. (Monrovia, CA) have signed a worldwide exclusive license and collaboration agreement for an antibody in Phase 1 clinical development.

MorphoSys, AG (Munich, Germany) and biopharmaceutical company Xencor, Inc. (Monrovia, CA) have signed a worldwide exclusive license and collaboration agreement for an antibody in Phase 1 clinical development. The agreement provides MorphoSys with an exclusive worldwide license to XmAb5574, a high potency monoclonal antibody developed by Xencor for the treatment of B-cell malignancies.

XmAb5574, which will be renamed MOR208, is a humanized anti-CD19 monoclonal antibody for the treatment of B-cell malignancies. It possesses significantly enhanced antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC), thus improving a key mechanism for killing tumor cells and offers the potential for enhanced efficacy compared to traditional antibodies for cancer treatment. In preclinical studies, XmAb5574 was well tolerated at various dose levels, elicited immediate and sustained B-cell depletion, and showed strong anti-tumor potency, anti-proliferative, and apoptotic activity.

As part of the agreement, the companies will collaborate on the Phase 1 trial in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) in the US. Xencor will continue to carry the costs under its development plan and MorphoSys will be solely responsible for further clinical development. Xencor will receive an upfront payment of $13 million, and will be eligible to receive development-, regulatory- and commercialization-related milestone payments and tiered royalties based on product sales.

B-cell malignancies, such as non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, CLL, and acute lymphoblastic leukemia afflict >150,000 patients each year. The target is expressed more broadly and earlier in B-cell development than CD20, the target of the marketed cancer drug Rituxan, therefore potentially allowing for an even broader use of XmAb5574 as compared to Rituxan.