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MorphoSys Reports Promising Pre-clinical Data for MOR202

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MorphoSys AG has announced promising pre-clinical data on its proprietary drug candidate MOR202, a HuCAL-derived, fully human anti-CD38 antibody.

Studies showed that by combining MOR202 with each of two approved drugs for the treatment of multiple myeloma, the anti-cancer activity of the antibody could be enhanced.

The effects were seen in in vitro and in vivo models of the disease. The pre-clinical data will be presented at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), to be held June 3-7, 2011, at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago.

"The synergistic effects that we've seen in pre-clinical studies are very encouraging and point towards a potential clinical use of MOR202," commented Dr. Arndt Schottelius, Chief Development Officer of MorphoSys AG. "We look forward to evaluating MOR202 in a phase 1/2a clinical trial in patients with multiple myeloma, which we expect to start shortly."

Multiple myeloma is the second most common hematologic cancer and the most common cancer to involve bone, resulting in severe pain and bone fractures over the course of the disease. In vitro, MOR202 mediates the killing of multiple myeloma cells by antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC).

In combination with the drug bortezomib (Velcade®), MOR202 displayed an enhanced direct cytotoxic effect on multiple myeloma cells. The drug lenalidomide (Revlimid®) synergistically enhanced MOR202 activity on multiple myeloma cells by several mechanisms, including direct cytotoxicity, activation of effector cells and increased CD38 expression levels on the tumor cell surface.

In an in vivo mouse model of multiple myeloma, MOR202 reduces tumor load as well as tumor-mediated bone destruction. In this model, MOR202 in combination with either bortezomib or lenalidomide completely abolished bone destruction in a synergistic manner. These findings support further investigation of MOR202 combination regimens in clinical trials.