November 27, 2012 / 7:30 am, CET
MorphoSys to Participate in Lanthio Pharma's Series A Financing
MorphoSys AG (FSE: MOR; Prime Standard Segment, TecDAX) today announced a collaboration with privately held Lanthio Pharma, a Dutch biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing lantipeptides. Lantipeptides comprise a novel class of therapeutics with high target selectivity and improved drug-like properties. Lanthio Pharma's technology LanthioPep can be used to identify peptides which are selective for a specific disease target and to stabilize them in their optimal structural conformation for receptor binding. MorphoSys and Lanthio Pharma will jointly apply their respective technologies to establish high quality and diverse lantipeptide-based libraries. MorphoSys receives preferred rights to exclusively license the LanthioPep technology for drug discovery.
MorphoSys will also make an equity investment in Lanthio Pharma as part of the company's Series A financing round. After closure of the transaction, MorphoSys will have a minority stake in Lanthio Pharma.
"Therapeutic peptides and especially so called stapled or constrained peptides comprise an emerging compound class which offers the potential to address multiple target classes and disease categories currently beyond reach for therapeutic proteins or small molecules. The combination of Lanthio Pharma's platform and our expertise in intelligent library design offers unique opportunities for both companies and that's what got us excited," commented Dr. Marlies Sproll, Chief Scientific Officer of MorphoSys AG.
"We are very pleased to have access to this novel technology platform and promising class of therapeutic peptides," commented Jens Holstein, Chief Financial Officer of MorphoSys. "This transaction represents a new approach for MorphoSys providing innovation capital to promising start-ups with technologies and product candidates being close to our core capabilities."
Lanthio Pharma applies its proprietary LanthioPep technology to discover peptide therapeutics with increased resistance to peptidase degradation, high receptor specificity and increased intrinsic activity. The high specificity can open up new therapeutic applications around novel targets including intracellular targets and GPCRs. Therapeutic plasma levels of lantipeptides can potentially be achieved via oral, pulmonary or subcutaneous delivery. The technology includes a proprietary bacterial display capability, which allows for the construction of focused or diversified libraries of lanthionine-peptides. These libraries allow for immediate functional screening and easy production of peptides of interest for further in vivo and in vitro testing. Lanthio Pharma signed a partnering deal for its lead compound PanCyte, a lanthionine-stabilized Angiotensin-(1-7) agonistic peptide for the treatment of pulmonary indications, with US-based Tarix Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in 2012. The start of clinical development of PanCyte is expected in 2013.
"Peptides are an attractive class of drugs, because they are used by the body itself to regulate physiological processes. A drawback of using peptides therapeutically can be their ability to interact with several receptors and their rapid degradation by peptidases in the body. Lanthio Pharma's technology can make peptides more receptor specific and the introduction of lanthionines also provides strong protection against peptidase degradation. As such, our lantipeptides typically have better "drug-like" properties, compared to natural linear peptides. In combination with MorphoSys's outstanding capabilities in generating high-quality protein libraries we are confident that we can bring lantipeptides to the next level," commented Bart Wuurman, CEO of Lanthio Pharma.
About Lanthio Pharma:
Lanthio Pharma is a privately held drug discovery company that applies its proprietary Lactococcus lactis based lanthionine-peptide drug discovery (LanthioPep) technology to discover peptide therapeutics with increased resistance to peptidase degradation, high receptor specificity and increased intrinsic activity.
Lanthio Pharma has generated stable, peptidase-resistant lanthionine peptides with highly specific agonistic activity for a number of GPCR targets, which is a focus area of the company. Many peptide ligands are thought to bind to their GPCR receptors via a "turn motif", which can be stabilized in Lanthio Pharma's peptides with a strong thioether bond. Fixing the turn motif in its optimal receptor binding conformation can result in potent and specific agonistic receptor activation.
The technology also includes a proprietary bacterial display library capability, which allows for the construction of focused or randomized libraries. These libraries allow for immediate functional screening and easy production of peptides of interest for further in-vivo and in-vitro testing.
Therapeutic products in Lanthio Pharma's pipeline include a lanthionine-stabilized specific agonist of the AT2 receptor, which has great potential in diseases where tissue protection is important, like fibrosis.
MorphoSys developed HuCAL, the most successful antibody library technology in the pharmaceutical industry. By successfully applying this and other patented technologies, MorphoSys has become a leader in the field of therapeutic antibodies, one of the fastest-growing drug classes in human healthcare. The company's AbD Serotec unit uses HuCAL and other antibody technologies to generate superior monoclonal antibodies for research and diagnostic applications.
Together with its pharmaceutical partners, MorphoSys has built a therapeutic pipeline of more than 70 human antibody drug candidates for the treatment of cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and Alzheimer's disease, to name just a few. With its ongoing commitment to new antibody technology and drug development, MorphoSys is focused on making the healthcare products of tomorrow. MorphoSys is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange under the symbol MOR. For regular updates about MorphoSys, visit http://www.morphosys.com
HuCAL®, HuCAL GOLD®, HuCAL PLATINUM®, CysDisplay®, RapMAT®, arYla® and Ylanthia® and 100 billion high potentials® are registered trademarks of MorphoSys AG.
Slonomics® is a registered trademark of Sloning BioTechnology GmbH, a subsidiary of MorphoSys AG.
This communication contains certain forward-looking statements concerning the MorphoSys group of companies. The forward-looking statements contained herein represent the judgment of MorphoSys as of the date of this release and involve risks and uncertainties. Should actual conditions differ from the Company's assumptions, actual results and actions may differ from those anticipated. MorphoSys does not intend to update any of these forward-looking statements as far as the wording of the relevant press release is concerned.
For more information, please contact:
Dr. Claudia Gutjahr-Löser
Head of Corporate Communications & IR
Tel: +49 (0) 89 / 899 27-122
Senior Manager Corporate Communications & IR
Tel: +49 (0) 89 / 899 27-454
Specialist Corporate Communications & IR
Tel: +49 (0) 89 / 899 27-332