Morphotek® Inc. has announced that it has signed an exclusive, worldwide patent license agreement giving it the right to develop and commercialize an antibody for the diagnosis and treatment of mesothelin-expressing cancers.
The license was granted by the Public Health Service (PHS) and the NCI. This agreement is a result of an ongoing research collaboration where Morphotek is applying its proprietary antibody technologies to develop and optimize antibodies to cancer-associated proteins identified by researchers at the NCI.
One of these antibodies "MORAb-009" is being developed by Morphotek for the treatment of pancreatic, ovarian and lung cancers and mesothelioma.
"This agreement accelerates the evolution of Morphotek's business model from a service-based enterprise to a biopharmaceutical development company," said Dr. Nicholas C. Nicolaides, President and Chief Executive Officer of Morphotek.
"MORAb-009 is one of six therapeutic antibodies we are currently developing. We expect to file the Investigational New Drug Application for this product in early 2006 which will contribute to our corporate goal of leveraging our antibody technologies to file two INDs per year."
"The treatment of pancreatic cancer and other mesothelin-expressing malignancies is an unmet medical need," said Dr. Martin Phillips, Senior Vice President of Clinical Development.
"We believe the mechanism of action and the target makes MORAb-009 an outstanding addition to our pipeline of antibodies for cancer, infectious and inflammatory diseases. We look forward to commencing clinical studies early in 2006."
The first therapeutic indication for investigation will be for the treatment of patients with pancreatic cancer.