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MorphoSys Announces Clinical Milestone in Therapeutic Antibody Program

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MorphoSys AG has announced that it will receive a milestone payment from Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc. in connection with the initiation of a Phase 1 clinical trial using a HuCAL-derived, fully human antibody in the therapeutic area of inflammation.

"The advancement of a new HuCAL antibody into human clinical trials is an important step forward for MorphoSys," commented Dr. Simon Moroney, Chief Executive Officer of MorphoSys AG. "Progress in the development of innovative biopharmaceutical agents by our partners is a key driver of our company's growth."

The current program becomes the second HuCAL antibody derived from MorphoSys's collaboration with Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc. to enter the clinic.

In 2007, Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc. started a Phase 1 study with a HuCAL antibody in oncology patients and commenced a Phase 2 trial in an immunological indication using the same antibody one year later. The antibody became the first from MorphoSys to be developed in two different indications. With the new study, Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc. will be running three clinical trials of HuCAL antibodies.

MorphoSys anticipates that in 2009, between two and four partnered programs will enter clinical trials. Altogether, the partnered and proprietary pipeline of MorphoSys is expected to comprise up to eight compounds in clinical trials by the end of 2009, with at least three antibodies in Phase 2.