MorphoSys and WACKER Expand Cooperation to Use WACKER's ESETEC® Technology
News Jan 21, 2010
MorphoSys AG and Wacker Chemie AG announced an expansion of their existing cooperation in the use of WACKER's bacterial secretion technology ESETEC®.
As a result, MorphoSys will now be able to use the WACKER technology for the production of antigen material in addition to the production of antibodies in both the early development phase of therapeutic projects as well as in the production of diagnostic and research antibodies.
The technology complements MorphoSys's existing production platforms. It could offer significant advantages with regard to the production of novel antigens, which have difficult to produce with conventional expression systems.
"The use of WACKER's secretion technology for antigen production allows us to approach development programs where the production of the disease-relevant target molecule represents a major challenge. This could offer us and our partners a head-start in therapeutic projects against novel drug targets including bacterial antigens in current and future infectious disease programs", explained Dr. Marlies Sproll, Chief Scientific Officer at MorphoSys AG.
In October 2009, MorphoSys signed a first alliance focused on the discovery and development of therapeutic antibodies for hospital-acquired infections with Daiichi Sankyo.
"The extension of our existing collaboration with MorphoSys underpins the success of our protein production technology ESETEC®" said Dr. Thomas Maier, Managing Director at Wacker Biotech GmbH, Wacker Chemie AG's subsidiary for custom manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals. "Since we introduced this innovation to the biopharmaceutical market we see that more and more companies revisit E. coli as production host to benefit from shorter development timelines", he added.
The patented ESETEC® secretion system from WACKER, which is based on E. coli, is a tried-and-tested technology for the cost-effective production of proteins including antibody fragments. The system comprises a specific E. coli strain developed and patented by WACKER which is able to secrete recombinant proteins in their native conformation into the culture medium during fermentation. This extra-cellular production makes it easier to purify the recombinant products, and the expensive process step of refolding is also dispensed with.
WACKER and MorphoSys entered into an initial feasibility study agreement for the use of the WACKER secretion technology for the production of antibodies in 2005. Due to significant success, this agreement was supplemented in 2008 with a formal license to use the WACKER technology.