MorphoSys Presents Animal Data for Antibodies to Treat Alzheimer’s Disease

December 03, 2003 / 12:00 am, CET

MorphoSys AG (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: MOR; Prime Standard Segment) presented successful in vivo results of their collaboration with Roche in Alzheimer’s disease at the 33rd Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in New Orleans, LA, U.S.A. Within the scope of its collaboration, MorphoSys generated antibodies using its proprietary human HuCAL® antibody technology, which were highly specific to human amyloid plaques. In an animal study conducted by Roche, systemically administered antibodies showed highly specific binding to amyloid plaques in the brain of transgenic mice that are models for human Alzheimer’s disease. The brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients are characterized by excessive accumulation of amyloid plaques. Targeting amyloid plaques with antibodies could therefore be a possible treatment for patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

Under the terms of the collaboration MorphoSys selected several antibodies from its HuCAL® library against the Alzheimer target amyloid b-peptide (Aβ). After two rounds of optimization the fully human antibodies showed high affinity binding to the target. These antibodies were able to bind specifically to amyloid plaques in human brain sections from Alzheimer patients in vitro. Moreover, the binding of the antibodies dissolved aggregations of Ab molecules in an in vitro assay. The optimized HuCAL® antibodies against Aβ were further tested in an animal model of Alzheimer’s disease. After systemic administration the antibodies were shown to cross the blood-brain-barrier and to bind to b-amyloid plaques within the brain. The selected HuCAL® antibodies against Aβ represent unique tools for application in Alzheimer’s disease, both diagnostically and therapeutically.

“These results provide promising evidence for a new, disease-modifying treatment for Alzheimer’s disease,” stated Dr. Simon Moroney, Chief Executive Officer of MorphoSys AG. ”This is yet a further demonstration of the power of our proprietary HuCAL® technology in providing human antibodies tailored for a particular therapeutic application. We are excited about the prospects for the further development of these compounds.”

MorphoSys and Roche initiated the collaboration to develop human antibodies targeting a Roche Alzheimer’s disease target in September 2000. MorphoSys used its proprietary HuCAL® library to generate several antibodies against the Roche target, hitting the first two milestones in December 2000 and March 2001. In achieving these two milestones MorphoSys delivered a series of HuCAL® antibodies which were shown to bind selectively to the Roche target in human Alzheimer brain tissue sections. In July 2002, MorphoSys achieved another milestone. MorphoSys generated HuCAL® antibodies demonstrating high affinity binding to the Roche target in both in vitro assays and in an Alzheimer’s animal model. MorphoSys will receive development related milestone payments and royalties on any marketed products emerging from the collaboration.

About MorphoSys:
MorphoSys develops and applies innovative technologies for the production of synthetic antibodies, which accelerate drug discovery and target characterization. Founded in 1992, the Company\'s proprietary Human Combinatorial Antibody Library (HuCALâ) technology is used by researchers worldwide for human antibody generation. The Company currently has licensing and research collaborations with Bayer (Berkeley, California/USA), Biogen Inc. (Cambridge, Massachusetts/USA), Boehringer Ingelheim (Ingelheim, Germany), Bristol-Myers Squibb (Wilmington, Delaware/USA), Centocor Inc. (Malvern, Pennsylvania/USA), California/USA), GPC Biotech AG (Munich/Germany), Hoffmann-La Roche AG (Basel/Switzerland), ImmunoGen Inc. (Cambridge, Massachusetts/USA), Oridis Biomed GmbH (Graz/Austria), ProChon Biotech Ltd. (Rehovot/Israel), Schering AG (Berlin/Germany) and Xoma Ltd. (Berkeley, California/USA).

Statements included in this press release which are not historical in nature are intended to be, and are hereby identified as, “forward-looking statements” for purposes of the safe harbour provided by Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements may be identified by words including “anticipates”, “believes”, “intends”, “estimates”, “expects” and similar expressions. The company cautions readers that forward-looking statements, including without limitation those relating to the company’s future operations and business prospects, are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements. Factors that may affect future operations and business prospects include, but are not limited to, clinical and scientific results and developments concerning corporate collaborations and the company’s proprietary rights and other factors described in the prospectus relating to the company’s recent public offering.

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MorphoSys AG

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Tel.: +49 (0) 89 / 899 27-122
Fax: +49 (0) 89 / 899 27-5122