MorphoSys Acquires Peptide Therapeutic Company Lanthio Pharma
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MorphoSys AG has announced that it has acquired all outstanding shares of the Dutch biopharmaceutical company Lanthio Pharma B.V. The transaction brings Lanthio Pharma's lead compound LP2, a novel lanthipeptide in development for diabetic nephropathy and fibrotic diseases to MorphoSys's growing proprietary portfolio.
LP2, which will be re-named MOR107, has demonstrated potent angiotensin II type 2 (AT2) receptor-dependent activity in vivo, and is planned to enter clinical trials in 2016. LP2 is the most advanced of four lanthipeptides in Lanthio Pharma's portfolio. In this context, MorphoSys reconfirmed its updated financial guidance issued on March 26, 2015.
Prior to the acquisition, MorphoSys held 19.98% of Lanthio Pharma. MorphoSys will pay EUR 20 million to acquire the outstanding share capital of Lanthio Pharma from the other investors, among them INKEF Capital, BioGeneration Ventures and Hanzepoort. As part of its Innovation Capital initiative, MorphoSys had made its initial equity investment in November 2012 as part of Lanthio Pharma's Series A financing round.
"The acquisition of Lanthio Pharma adds a very attractive compound to our growing proprietary portfolio. The lead compound LP2 has the potential to be a first-in-class treatment for various fibrotic diseases and thus represents a commercially attractive opportunity", commented Dr. Simon Moroney, Chief Executive Officer of MorphoSys. "We have followed developments at Lanthio Pharma closely since the beginning of our relationship. Now is the optimal time for this transaction to secure the development of this potentially exciting asset."
"We have enjoyed a very productive relationship with Lanthio Pharma since 2012 and are therefore delighted to work even closer with Lanthio's experienced staff on developing LP2 and identifying additional novel innovative therapeutic peptides," said Jens Holstein, Chief Financial Officer of MorphoSys AG. "Today's news marks another milestone for our Innovation Capital initiative that led to this acquisition. We will continue to look for opportunities to invest and collaborate with biopharmaceutical start-ups to strengthen our drug development capabilities and enrich our proprietary drug portfolio."
Dr. Heinz Schwer, Chief Executive Officer of Lanthio Pharma, added: "The acquisition of Lanthio Pharma with its exciting preclinical programs is the final conclusion of a trustful business relationship over three years. We very much look forward to working within MorphoSys to advance our programs and act as an innovative source of new treatment options for patients."
"As the largest shareholder in Lanthio Pharma, we want to congratulate the founders, the management and all employees. This transaction provides the opportunity to further exploit the potential of the lanthipeptide technology," noted Dirk Kersten, Managing Director of INKEF Capital. "We would like to thank MorphoSys for their strong support during the past years. We look forward to continue working with MorphoSys and its Innovation Capital initiative."
Lanthipeptides comprise a novel class of therapeutics with high target selectivity and improved drug-like properties. Lanthio Pharma's approach can be used to identify peptides which are selective for a specific disease target and to stabilize their structural conformation for optimal receptor binding.
The high specificity that can be achieved opens up new therapeutic applications, potentially providing drugs for indications not usually targeted with antibodies. In addition to intravenous administration, therapeutic plasma levels of lanthipeptides can potentially be achieved via oral, pulmonary or subcutaneous delivery.