Celgene Ends its Blood Cancer Collaboration with MorphoSys

MorphoSys AG and Celgene announced that the companies have mutually decided to terminate their co-development and co-promotion agreement for an investigational blood cancer drug.

In a press release, MorphoSys said that it has regained rights to MOR202 from Celgene. The news sent MorphoSys shares down 20 percent, its biggest drop since 2002, according to Bloomberg.

In 2013, Celgene paid MorphoSys $92 million upfront, with a promise of up to $818 million. The agreement was for the co-development and co-promotion of MOR202, a fully human monoclonal antibody being investigated, in combination with Velcade (bortezomib) and Revlimid (lenalidomide) for the treatment of blood cancers.

“Regaining rights to MOR202 opens up new possibilities for MorphoSys,” said Dr. Simon Mornoey, CEO of MorphoSys. “MOR202 binds to CD38, a clinically validated target in multiple myeloma, and we know there is a lot of interest in the program. We thank Celgene for working with MorphoSys to advance the clinical development of MOR202. This program is a valuable component of our proprietary portfolio, and we are looking forward to presenting clinical data in the near future.”

MorphoSys is continuing development on its own, which currently includes a planned Phase I/IIa study in relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma. The trial includes combination cohorts with lenalidomide and pomalidomide which will be provided by Celgene. The company said that it aimed to release first clinical trial data from the ongoing study at a medical conference in 2015.

“We are committed to continuing the development of MOR202 as there is a high unmet medical need for new treatment options in multiple myeloma,” said Dr. Arndt Schottelius, Chief Development Officer of MorphoSys AG. “Based on pre-clinical data, we see significant promise in combining MOR202 with Celgene’s lenalidomide and pomalidomide in clinical trials which will commence soon.”

MorphoSys also raised its 2015 profit guidance, saying it expected to post 2015 earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of between nine and 16 million euros, compared to a previous forecast for a loss of 20 to 30 million euros.

Sources: MorphoSys AG; Bloomberg

Last updated: 3/27/15; 10:00am EST

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