Emergent BioSolutions signs license agreement with MorphoSys

Emergent BioSolutions, a biopharmaceutical company that develops products to address emerging health threats, announced a license agreement on Tuesday to co-develop a prostate cancer antibody with MorphoSys AG.

Emergent, the developer of the anthrax vaccine BioThrax, will jointly develop and commercialize ES414 with MorphoSys. Under the terms of the agreement, Emergent will receive an upfront payment of $20 million and milestone payments of up to $163 million.

"Emergent looks forward to collaborating with MorphoSys to potentially address important unmet needs amongst patients suffering from prostate cancer," Barry Labinger, the executive vice president and president of the Biosciences Division at Emergent, said. "Our companies bring complementary capabilities, compatible cultures and values, and a shared commitment to the highest quality development and commercialization of ES414. We expect to begin clinical development within the next six months."

Labinger said progress with ES414, which will be renamed MOR209/ES414, will help to validate the company's ADAPTIR platform. ADAPTIR bispecific proteins are modular, single chain polypeptides that may mediate T-cell cytotoxicity. ES414 was found to redirect T-cell cytotoxicity toward prostate cancer cells during pre-clinical in vitro and in vivo studies.

"We believe ES414 has the potential to be an important therapy for prostate cancer, where there is a pressing need for better treatments," Arndt Schottelius, the chief development officer for MorphoSys, said. "The preclinical data suggest that the molecule has a number of potential advantages over other drug candidates in this indication. Our goal is to combine our capabilities with those of Emergent to enable the fastest possible development and commercialization of ES414."

Emergent works with healthcare providers and governments to address emerging health threats and medical needs.