Frau im Labor
Frau im Labor

Our Technologies

Antibody library Ylanthia®

Although there are several technologies currently available for the discovery of therapeutic antibodies, they can make this process difficult in two ways. Many antibody programs fail in later development due to inadequate biophysical properties – and if an antibody cannot be produced on a larger scale, or if other properties adversely affect its handling, the chances of successful commercialization decrease.

 

In addition, earlier technology generations fail to deliver antibodies against all possible targets (epitopes) of disease-relevant target molecules. A lack of structural diversity in the generation of antibodies means that not all possibilities to bind to a promising target molecule are exhausted and its role in the course of the disease is underestimated.

Ylanthia is a technology that has been specifically designed to overcome these hurdles, thereby going one step further than all current antibody technologies.

 

Ylanthia

Antibody engineering and innovative antibody formats

For MorphoSys, the HuCAL® and Ylanthia technologies as well as our protein engineering capabilities form the basis of our next generation bi- and multispecific antibody platforms.

 

Bispecific antibodies (BsAbs) are proteins engineered to recognize two different targets at the same time. Such proteins with 'two-target' functionality can interfere with multiple surface receptors or receptor ligands. BsAbs can also place targets into close proximity, either to support protein complex formation on one cell, or to trigger contacts between cells. The most common type of BsAbs in development are so called T-cell-engaging (TCE) bispecific antibodies which trigger signaling of the CD3 surface receptor on T-cells and also bind to a second target protein on tumor cells, targeting and activating cytotoxic T-cells to eliminate cancer cells with one antibody molecule. These treatments make up about 45% of the bispecific pipeline and may become the next wave of novel antibody-based therapy with the potential to disrupt the current treatment paradigm in oncology.

 

In November 2020, MorphoSys and Cherry Biolabs, a spin-off from the University Hospital Würzburg, announced a licensing agreement granting MorphoSys the rights to apply Cherry Biolabs' innovative, multispecific Hemibody technology to six exclusive targets. This Hemibody technology, in combination with our antibody expertise and technologies, offers the potential to generate novel T-cell engaging (TCE) medicines with even higher precision and better safety profiles for the treatment of cancer patients. We intend to apply the Hemibody technology in the context of our CyCAT® Dual Targeting Concept to discover and advance novel Hemibody-based treatment options for patients with hematological and solid cancers.

 

CyCAT

Small molecule discovery engine - Modulation of epigenetic regulators

Our efforts have demonstrated that selective reprogramming of gene expression is a promising therapeutic approach – not only to induce cancer cell killing but also to enhance anti-tumor immunity.

Understanding the biological context

We have built a suite of tools – including a chemical probe library – that enables us to identify and validate epigenetic target biology. This library consists of selective small molecules that each inhibit the activity of a specific epigenetic regulator. In addition, we have also built libraries of genetic tools that help us understand the function of specific genes that encode epigenetic regulators. Using these tools allows us to identify epigenetic targets that, when inhibited, induce cancer cell death, sensitize tumor cells to an immune response, and reprogram immune-suppressive immune cells to enhance anti-tumor activity.

Development of small-molecule product candidates

Our small-molecule drug discovery engine is supported by our deep understanding of the writer, reader and eraser classes of epigenetic regulators. We have spent over ten years developing this understanding – and this knowledge, combined with our capabilities in assay development, biochemistry, compound screening, medicinal chemistry and structural biology, provides a strong platform to continue to develop small-molecule epigenetic inhibitors.

Small Molecule_Technologies