MorphoSys and LEO Pharma Expand Strategic Alliance to Develop Peptide-derived Therapeutics

LEO Pharma A/S and MorphoSys AG announced an expansion of their existing strategic alliance to include peptide-derived therapeutics. The objective of the alliance is to identify novel, peptide-derived therapeutics for unmet medical needs that will be valuable additions to both companies’ pipelines. This alliance expands the existing partnership of the two companies signed in November 2016 to jointly discover and develop antibody-based therapies in dermatology.

Under the terms of the agreement, LEO Pharma will select targets against which MorphoSys will identify lead molecules using its proprietary peptide technology platform. LEO Pharma will either develop these lead molecules, or use them to aid the design of other drug candidates. LEO Pharma will have exclusive, worldwide rights and be responsible for development and commercialization of resulting drugs in dermatology. MorphoSys will have an exclusive option to secure worldwide rights to any drugs arising from the collaboration in the field of oncology.

“It is with great pleasure that we expand our collaboration with MorphoSys to also include identification of lead molecules for selected targets of particular dermatological interest,” said Thorsten Thormann, Vice President, Research, LEO Pharma. “By continuing our innovative collaboration to find and develop novel, peptide-derived therapeutics we will boost our pipeline while committing to even greater efforts in our quest to address the high unmet medical needs among people with skin diseases.”

MorphoSys will receive R&D funding as well as success-based development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments, plus royalties on net sales of peptide drugs commercialized by LEO Pharma. Further financial details were not disclosed.

“We are excited to expand our existing antibody partnership with LEO Pharma with the goal of developing novel, peptide-derived drugs,” said Dr. Markus Enzelberger, Chief Scientific Officer of MorphoSys AG. “This partnering deal utilizes our newest innovative proprietary peptide technology and creates an ideal route for differentiated product candidates in an area of severe unmet medical need.”

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