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MorphoSys and Proteros Biostructures Receive Research Grant to Develop New Technology Platform
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MorphoSys and Proteros Biostructures Receive Research Grant to Develop New Technology Platform

MorphoSys and Proteros Biostructures Receive Research Grant to Develop New Technology Platform
News

MorphoSys and Proteros Biostructures Receive Research Grant to Develop New Technology Platform

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MorphoSys AG and Proteros Biostructures have announced that they have been awarded a grant by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, BMBF. The funding of approximately EUR 850,000 supports both companies in establishing a new technology platform for efficient structural characterization of antibody-antigen-complexes.

MorphoSys will provide relevant antigen and antibody molecules, Proteros will provide advanced x-ray technology and computational chemistry know-how. The high resolution access to antibody-antigen-complex structures is expected to allow a faster and more efficient engineering of therapeutic antibodies, the companies believe.

The program is part of Munich's biotechnology initiative "m4 - Personalized Medicine and Targeted Therapies - A New Dimension in Drug Development in the Munich Region", which this year received Leading-Edge Cluster status in a German government funding competition.

In the first project, the two companies will analyze MorphoSys's proprietary clinical anti-inflammatory antibody MOR103 and the binding properties to its corresponding antigen GM-CSF. MOR103 is a fully human HuCAL antibody directed against GM-CSF (granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor), being developed in the area of inflammatory diseases, for example rheumatoid arthritis.

Due to its diverse functions in the immune system, GM-CSF can be considered a target for a broad spectrum of anti-inflammatory therapies. The program is currently being evaluated in a European clinical phase 1b/2a trial in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis.

"Early clarification of the precise interaction between antibody and antigen is very valuable information in drug discovery, as it can help in identifying the most promising lead candidate or in generating improved follow-up compounds by directed molecular evolution," commented Dr Marlies Sproll, Chief Scientific Officer of MorphoSys AG. "Within the research program we'll bring together MorphoSys's antibody expertise and Proteros's structure solution know-how to tackle challenges in crystallizing whole IgG molecules.”

"The analysis of antibody-antigen interaction at atomic resolution efficiently guides the further evolution of antibodies,” commented Dr. Torsten Neuefeind, CEO of Proteros. "In the joint program, a technology platform will be developed which combines the strengths of combinatorial biology and rational structure guided approaches."
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