Morphotek and Mayo Clinic Partner to Study Diagnostic Assays in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

EXTON, Pa., Feb. 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Morphotek®, Inc., a subsidiary of Eisai Inc., announced today that it is collaborating with researchers Keith L. Knutson, Ph.D. in the Department of Immunology and Edith A. Perez, M.D. in the Department of Hematology and Oncology at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida in a clinical study in patients with folate receptor alpha (FRA) positive, triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). The study is supported by a $13.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense and provides funding for a 280-patient Phase II clinical trial testing an anti-FRA vaccine in patients with TNBC. Correlative studies within the grant will utilize Morphotek’s proprietary FRA diagnostic assays to quantify FRA expression in patients’ tumors and blood with the intent of developing companion assays.

“We are excited about this clinical study with Mayo Clinic in the field of anti-FRA therapy,” stated Daniel O’Shannessy, Ph.D., Head of Translational Medicine and Diagnostics at Morphotek. “The FRA pathway and development of potential FRA-positive cancer treatments are a key focus of Morphotek. The use of FRA diagnostics in TNBC complements our current development strategy with our investigational agent, farletuzumab, which is being tested in cancers known to express FRA.”

Farletuzumab is currently being tested in a clinical study in first-relapsed, platinum-sensitive ovarian cancer patients with low CA125 levels. The double-blind, randomized-controlled study is designed to prospectively evaluate the clinical effects observed in the previously conducted Phase 3 trial in the pre-specified subset of patients treated with farletuzumab exhibiting low CA125 levels. Further information on the clinical study can be found at, study number NCT02289950.

About Morphotek

Morphotek®, Inc., a subsidiary of Eisai Inc., is a biopharmaceutical company specializing in the development of protein and antibody products through the use of a novel and proprietary gene evolution technology.  The technology has been successfully applied to a broad variety of cell lines and organisms to yield genetically diverse offspring that are suitable for pharmaceutical product development in the areas of antibody therapeutics, protein therapeutics, product manufacturing, drug target discovery, and improved output traits for commercial applications.  The company is currently focusing its platform on the development and manufacturing of therapeutic antibodies for the treatment of cancer, inflammation and infectious disease.  For more information, please

About Eisai Inc.

At Eisai Inc., human health care is our goal. We give our first thoughts to patients and their families, and helping to increase the benefits health care provides. As the U.S. pharmaceutical subsidiary of Tokyo-based Eisai Co., Ltd., we have a passionate commitment to patient care that is the driving force behind our efforts to help address unmet medical needs. We are a fully integrated pharmaceutical business with discovery, clinical, manufacturing and marketing capabilities. Our key areas of commercial focus include oncology and specialty care (Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy and metabolic disorders). To learn more about Eisai Inc., please visit us

Eisai Inc. has affiliates that are part of a global product creation organization that includes R&D facilities in Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, as well as a global demand chain organization that includes manufacturing facilities inMaryland and North Carolina. Eisai’s global areas of R&D focus include neuroscience; oncology; metabolic disorders; vascular, inflammatory and immunological reaction; and antibody-based programs.

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