Celgene, MorphoSys enter 628-million euro deal to develop cancer drug MOR202

Celgene entered an agreement with MorphoSys potentially worth up to 628 million euros ($818 million) to develop the latter's experimental drug MOR202, a fully-human monoclonal antibody targeting CD38 to treat patients with multiple myeloma and certain leukaemias, the companies reported. Mark Alles, Celgene's global head of haematology and oncology, said the deal "enables us to rapidly advance a promising therapeutic antibody in a disease where significant progress is being made, but where patients continue to need new treatment options."

The companies noted that they will jointly develop MOR202 on a global basis and co-promote the compound in Europe. Under the agreed terms, Celgene will pay MorphoSys an upfront license fee of 70.8 million euros ($92 million) and will also invest 46.2 million euros ($60 million) for new shares of the latter. In addition, MorphoSys is eligible to receive development, regulatory and sales milestones, as well as tiered double-digit royalties on net sales outside Europe. MorphoSys will also retain a 50/50 profit sharing in its co-promotion territory.

MOR202 is currently being evaluated in a Phase 1/2a trial in patients with relapsed/refractory myeloma, while MorphoSys and Celgene will also develop the drug in other indications.

Shares in MorphoSys rose as much as 17 percent on the news. Earlier in June, the company licensed global rights to the experimental anti-inflammatory drug MOR103 to GlaxoSmithKline under a deal potentially worth up to 445.5 million euros ($580 million).

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