MorphoSys AG, developer of HuCAL, has partnered with Immatics Biotechnologies GmbH, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company and a global leader in cancer immunotherapy. The two companies will be developing new antibody-based treatments against several cancer antigens recognized by T cells.
According to the agreement, MorphoSys will be given access to a number of proprietary tumor-associated peptides (TUMAPs) discovered through Immatics’ XPRESIDENT platform, and from these develop new antibody-based treatments against these targets in various solid and hematological cancers. At the same time Immatics will be provided with MorphoSys’ Ylanthia antibodies against several TUMAPs. Payments between the two companies will be milestone-based, depending on development progress and royalties on resulting marketed products.
Dr. Marlies Sproll, Chief Scientific Officer of MorphoSys AG, commented: “We are delighted to join forces with Immatics, a world leader in discovering truly novel cancer targets that would be otherwise inaccessible for antibody-based therapies. This alliance opens up the intracellular target space for us and thus complements the therapeutic approaches we use in other oncology programs. We believe this collaboration will create several unique product opportunities for us based on truly differentiated compounds.”
Dr. Harpreet Singh, Chief Scientific Officer of Immatics Biotechnologies GmbH, added: “The alliance with MorphoSys marks an important strategic milestone for Immatics. We are now entering the field of antibody-based therapeutics complementing our existing cancer immunotherapy pipeline. The combination of MorphoSys’ outstanding capabilities to create antibodies and the unique access to intracellular targets through our XPRESIDENT® discovery engine provides both partners the opportunity to jointly deliver the next generation of transforming antibody drugs for cancer patients with high unmet medical need.”
Tumor cells are different from healthy cells in that they express tumor-associated proteins, which are then degraded intracellularly to form peptides. These peptides are brought to the cell surface and are taken up by specialized receptors and displayed to the external environment, giving a glimpse of the cell’s inner composition.
Both Immatics and MorphoSys intend to develop Ylanthia antibodies against these receptor-bound peptide targets this way allowing tumor cell death. At present, Immatics’ XPRESIDENT discovery platform is the only known high-throughput research technology to directly identify, quantify, and prioritize such cancer-related peptides.