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MorphoSys Announces Clinical Milestone from Centocor Ortho Biotech

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MorphoSys AG announced that it will receive a clinical milestone payment from Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc. in connection with the initiation of a phase 1 clinical trial of a HuCAL-derived antibody in the therapeutic area of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The target against which the antibody is directed is undisclosed.

As part of the Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc. collaboration in 2007, a HuCAL antibody became the first from MorphoSys to be developed in two different therapeutic areas – oncology and immunology and in 2009, a different HuCAL antibody advanced in the therapeutic area of inflammation into a phase 1 trial.

The announcement marks the start of a fourth clinical trial that will be running HuCAL antibodies. Further pre-clinical programs are ongoing.

"Our clinical pipeline is progressing very well, and we expect significant progress in this regard during the course of 2010 with up to six new partnered programs advancing into the clinic," commented Dr. Marlies Sproll, Chief Scientific Officer of MorphoSys AG. “We are delighted to see another antibody program advance into phase 1 clinical trials.”

MorphoSys projects that in 2010 between four and six partnered programs could enter clinical trials. This news represents the first HuCAL-derived antibody to achieve this stage during the course of the year. By the end of this year, up to 14 proprietary and partnered antibody programs are expected to be in clinical trials including at least four programs in phase 2 clinical trials.