MorphoSys AG and OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, Inc. have announced the signing of a license agreement on the use of MorphoSys's HuCAL® technology in the research and development of human therapeutic antibodies for the treatment of various cancers, including breast, lung, colon and prostate by targeting cancer stem cells.
Under the terms of the agreement, MorphoSys grants OncoMed access to its proprietary antibody library HuCAL GOLD® for use by OncoMed in its drug discovery programs.
The two-year contract includes an option for OncoMed to develop HuCAL®-derived therapeutic antibodies. The agreement includes an up-front payment and annual user fees.
Founded in August 2004, OncoMed Pharmaceuticals is discovering and developing monoclonal antibodies and proteins capable of destroying "cancer stem cells", a recently discovered type of cell believed to seed the growth of cancers and underlie cancer's ability to spread and take root in tissues.
OncoMed is at the forefront of applying research from the University of Michigan to isolate, purify, and analyze cancer stem cells.
The company has established a large library of antibodies as well as proteins capable of binding to the cell surface proteins expressed on cancer stem cells capable of inhibiting cancer stem cell growth.
OncoMed has the right to exercise an option for commercial development of therapeutic antibodies, in which case MorphoSys would receive exclusive license fees, milestone payments, as well as royalties.
"We expect our agreement with MorphoSys to play an important role in expanding OncoMed's ability for developing novel therapeutics to treat cancer by targeting cancer stem cells," said Paul J. Hastings, President and Chief Executive Officer of OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
"An important part of our strategy is to put our technology to work in creating the next generation of cancer drugs in selected partnerships," commented Dr. Simon Moroney, Chief Executive Officer of MorphoSys.
"OncoMed's approach to fight cancer by aiming at cancer stem cells is innovative and very interesting both scientifically and commercially."
"We are delighted, to enable OncoMed with our HuCAL GOLD® technology as the basis to explore their therapeutic efforts in this space."