MorphoSys AG and Immatics Biotechnologies GmbH have announced a strategic alliance to generate novel antibody-based therapeutics against multiple proprietary cancer antigens recognized by T cells.
The collaboration agreement provides MorphoSys with access to several proprietary tumor-associated peptides (TUMAPs) discovered using Immatics' XPRESIDENT® platform to develop novel antibody-based therapeutics against these targets in a number of solid and hematological cancers.
XPRESIDENT® enables access to novel antibody targets associated with proteins that are present inside cancer cells. In return, Immatics will be provided with MorphoSys' Ylanthia® antibodies against a number of its TUMAPs, with proprietary development rights. The companies will pay each other milestones based on their respective development progress as well as royalties on marketed products. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.
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 differ from healthy cells in the expression of tumor-associated proteins. These proteins are degraded inside living cells into shorter fragments, called peptides, which are then shuttled to the cell surface.
Specialized receptors on the cell surfaces, so-called major histocompatibility complex (MHC) receptors, display these peptides to the external environment thereby providing a snapshot of the cell's interior. The therapeutic programs now being pursued by Immatics and MorphoSys aim to discover Ylanthia® antibodies against these MHC-bound peptide targets in order to kill the tumor cells.
Immatics' XPRESIDENT® discovery platform is the only known high-throughput research technology to directly identify, quantify, and prioritize these cancer-related peptides.