2022-06-16| Licensing

MorphoSys Thins Pipeline For Potential $1 Billion Deal While Progressing Oncology Ambitions

by Reed Slater
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After a huge deal last year to acquire immuno-oncology targets, MorphoSys announced it is selling licensing rights for two therapies in its pipeline, MOR210 and felzartamab, to Human Immunology BioSciences (HIBio) for a potential $1 billion deal. This news came just a day after MorphoSys announced a clinical trial collaboration with Pfizer and Incyte to study its approved large B-cell lymphoma targeting drug, Monjuvi, in combination with Pfizer’s TTI-622. 


Making Big Money To Focus On Cancer Therapies


HIBio is a mysterious new company with sparse information on its website. The little information available states it is an autoimmune and inflammatory disease-focused biotech company and MorphoSys’ press release states ARCH Venture Partners and Monograph Capital incubated HIBio. 

MorphoSys’ deal with HIBio consists of a $15 million upfront payment for MOR210, an anti-C5aR1 antibody with potential applications in autoimmune and immuno-oncology targets. HIBio received exclusive rights to MOR210 worldwide except in China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and South Korea. 

HIBio also acquired the rights to felzartamab, an anti-CD38 antibody with potential applications in nephropathy, a kind of kidney deterioration, in all the same worldwide locations with the addition of South Korea. 

MorphoSys said it would receive a 15% equity stake in HIBio with up to $1 billion in milestone payments as well as high single-digit or low double-digit percentage royalties on net sales. HIBio will also grant MorphoSys a board seat as part of the deal.

Travis Murdoch, M.D., CEO of HIBio, said, “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.”


Related Article: Astellas’ $20.5M Deal With GO Therapeutics to Develop Immuno-Oncology Therapeutics


Moving Forward With an Oncology-Focused Mindset


All this strategic rearranging from MorphoSys stems from a massive $1.7 billion deal with Constellation Pharmaceuticals in June last year to expand its oncology pipeline. The deal netted MorphoSys two clinical-stage therapies, pelabresib and CPI-0209. Pelabresib is now in Phase 3 clinical trials, and CPI-0209 is in Phase 2 clinical trials. 

More recent news in MorphoSys’ oncology development includes a clinical trial collaboration with Pfizer and Incyte. Pfizer will initiate a Phase 1b/2 clinical trial to study the efficacy of Pfizer’s TTI-622, an anti-CD47 antibody, in combination with MorphoSys’ Monjuvi plus lenalidomide to treat relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma. 

MorphoSys struck a $750 million license agreement with Incyte for the development and commercialization of Monjuivi in March 2020, and the FDA approved Monjuvi plus lenalidomide in July 2020. MorphoSys and Incyte will provide Monjuvi for the clinical trial collaboration with Pfizer.

MorphoSys’ big moves will allow more space and funds to shift its focus to immuno-oncology development to justify the $1.7 billion acquisition of Constellation. Lots of moving parts make the host of deals difficult to follow, but as time goes on the dominoes appear to be falling into place for the Germany-based biotech company.

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