Tuesday, May 13, 2008
04/28/2008 at 07:30 AM
MorphoSys AG (FSE: MOR; Prime Standard Segment, TecDAX) today announced the completion of a first dosing regimen in a phase 1 clinical study on healthy volunteers of the HuCAL-derived antibody MOR103 with no adverse events reported. Six healthy volunteers in the first dosing group have been enrolled and received MOR103 injections, while three volunteers received placebo. The safety review of the medical data from the lowest dosing group yielded a determination that it was safe to proceed with the second dosing group. The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, single-ascending dose trial will be conducted in approx. 50 healthy volunteers and is being conducted in a Clinical Pharmacology Unit (CPU) in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The trial is scheduled to be finalized in 2008 and final reporting is expected in Q1 2009.
The Company's lead development program, MOR103, is a fully human HuCAL antibody directed against GM-CSF (granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor), being developed in the area of inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, where current treatment options are inadequate. Due to its diverse functions in the immune system, GM-CSF can be considered a target for a broad spectrum of anti-inflammatory therapies. MorphoSys had submitted the clinical trial application in December 2007 and received the approval by the Dutch authorities six weeks later. The study will evaluate the safety and tolerability as well as pharmacokinetics of escalating doses of MOR103.
"We are very pleased to see our first proprietary drug candidate progress according to plan," commented Dr. Marlies Sproll, Chief Scientific Officer of MorphoSys AG. "Antibodies that neutralize GM-CSF could represent a new generation of medicines that reduce inflammation with greater beneficial effects."
For further information please contact: Dr. Claudia Gutjahr-Löser, Head of Corporate Communications & Investor Relations, Tel: +49 (0) 89 / 899 27-122, firstname.lastname@example.org or Mario Brkulj, Manager Corporate Communications & Investor Relations, Tel: +49 (0) 89 / 899 27-454, email@example.com
MorphoSys is a publicly traded biotechnology company focused on the generation of fully human antibodies as a means to discover and develop innovative antibody-based drugs against life-threatening diseases. MorphoSys's goal is to establish HuCAL as the technology of choice for antibody generation in research, diagnostics and therapeutic applications. The Company currently has therapeutic and research alliances with the majority of the world largest pharmaceutical companies including Boehringer Ingelheim, Centocor/Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, Pfizer and Roche. Within these partnerships, more than 50 therapeutic antibody programs are ongoing in which MorphoSys participates through exclusive license and milestones payments as well as royalties on any end products. Additionally, MorphoSys is active in the antibody research market through its AbD Serotec business unit. The business unit has operations in Germany (Munich), the U.S. (Raleigh, NC) and U.K. (Oxford). For further information please visit http://www.morphosys.com/
About MOR103 to treat RA:
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is traditionally considered a chronic, inflammatory autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to attack the joints and affects in particular a membrane, called synovium, which lines each movable joint. It is a disabling and painful inflammatory condition, which can lead to substantial loss of mobility due to pain and joint destruction. As a systemic disease, RA often affects extra-articular tissues throughout the body including the skin, blood vessels, heart, lungs, and muscles. The disease affects approximately 4-6 million people worldwide. In patients suffering from RA, white blood cells move from the bloodstream into the synovium. Here, these blood cells appear to play an important role in causing the synovial membrane to become inflamed. The HuCAL-based antibody MOR103 targets GM-CSF as a means to treat inflammatory diseases such as psoriasis, multiple sclerosis (MS), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and especially RA. The granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) stimulates stem cells to produce granulocytes and macrophages, and subsequently activates these differentiated immune cells. GM-CSF is part of the natural immune and inflammatory cascade but has also been identified as an inflammatory mediator in autoimmune disorders like RA leading to an increased production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, chemokines and proteases and thereby ultimately to articular destruction. By neutralizing GM-CSF the HuCAL-based antibody MOR103 reduces undesired proliferation and activation of inflammatory granulocytes and macrophages and intervenes in several pathophysiological pathways. More information and picture material is available at: http://www.morphosys.com/en/mor103
HuCAL® and HuCAL GOLD® are registered trademarks of MorphoSys AG
This communication contains certain forward-looking statements concerning the MorphoSys group of companies. The forward-looking statements contained herein represent the judgment of MorphoSys as of the date of this release and involve risks and uncertainties. Should actual conditions differ from the Company's assumptions, actual results and actions may differ from those anticipated. MorphoSys does not intend to update any of these forward-looking statements as far as the wording of the relevant press release is concerned.