MorphoSys AG

April 11, 2011 01:59 ET

MorphoSys Initiates Infectious Disease Alliance with ContraFect

Combinatorial Approach Using Multi-Therapy Antibody Treatment

MARTINSRIED, GERMANY and MUNICH, GERMANY and NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Apr 11, 2011) -

MorphoSys AG (FRANKFURT: MOR) announced today the formation of a new alliance with US-based biotechnology company ContraFect Corp. in the discovery and development of therapeutic antibodies for infectious diseases. Under the terms of the five-year agreement, ContraFect will receive access to HuCAL PLATINUM, the latest and most powerful version of MorphoSys's antibody libraries, and AutoCAL at its facility in New York. Payments under the agreement include committed annual license fees in addition to success-based development milestones. MorphoSys also stands to receive royalties on sales of marketed drug products emerging from the collaboration.

ContraFect is a biotechnology company pioneering the use of monoclonal antibodies to treat life-threatening infectious diseases, including MRSA infections and Influenza. ContraFect's scientific approach is based on a transition from conventional mono-therapy to a combinatorial approach using multi-therapy antibody treatment to address the growing challenge of drug resistance and therapy escape mechanisms.

MorphoSys AG currently has a pipeline of more than 70 drug candidates including 17 in clinical development. MorphoSys's list of partners includes a roster of bluechip biotechnology and pharmaceutical firms, such as Boehringer Ingelheim, Daiichi Sankyo, Merck & Company, Novartis, Pfizer and Roche. "The HuCAL PLATINUM technology has shown great potential in yielding highly effective therapeutics for the treatment of infectious diseases. We will continue to exploit this attractive commercial opportunity within selected partnerships, including this new collaboration with ContraFect", commented Dr. Marlies Sproll, Chief Scientific Officer of MorphoSys AG.

Dr. Robert Nowinski, Chief Executive Officer of ContraFect said, "By simultaneously attacking multiple targets on pathogens, no single mutation or genetic re-assortment can result in escape from therapy; antibodies are uniquely suited to accomplish this therapeutic goal. In effect, the end result is similar in approach to the drug cocktails that are used against HIV. Using HuCAL to generate these antibodies was of key importance to us since this technology enables the selection of thousands of unique antibody molecules from a single library."

ContraFect was founded in 2008 by Dr. Nowinski. Prior to founding ContraFect, Dr. Nowinski founded six biotechnology companies including Genetic Systems (now part of Bristol-Myers), Icos (now part of Eli Lilly) and PathoGenesis (now part of Novartis).

About MorphoSys:

MorphoSys is an independent biotechnology company that develops novel antibodies for therapeutic, diagnostic and research applications. The Company's HuCAL technology is one of the most powerful methods available for generating fully human antibodies. By successfully applying this and other proprietary technologies, MorphoSys has become a leader in the field of therapeutic antibodies, one of the fastest-growing drug classes in human health-care. Through its alliances with some of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies, MorphoSys has created a pipeline of more than 60 drug candidates. The Company is expanding its drug pipeline by adding new partnered programs, and by building a portfolio of fully-owned therapeutic antibodies. For its proprietary portfolio, the Company is focused on the areas of oncology and inflammation. Its most advanced program MOR103, a first-in-class, fully human antibody against GM- CSF, is currently being tested in a Phase Ib/IIa trial in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Via its business unit AbD Serotec, MorphoSys is expanding the reach of its technologies in the diagnostics and research markets. MorphoSys is headquartered in Munich, Germany and listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange under the symbol "MOR". For further information, visit

HuCAL®, HuCAL GOLD®, HuCAL PLATINUM®, AutoCAL®, CysDisplay® and RapMAT® are registered trademarks of MorphoSys; arYla™ is a trademark of MorphoSys.

About ContraFect:

ContraFect Corporation is a biotechnology company pioneering the use of monoclonal antibodies and lysins to treat life-threatening infectious diseases. ContraFect's initial products include agents to treat diseases such as MRSA (drug resistant staphylococcus bacteria), other serious bacterial infections, and influenza.

ContraFect's scientific approach is based on the following principles:

--  Monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of life threatening bacterial
    and viral diseases
--  Lysins for the treatment of drug-resistant gram positive bacteria,
    such as staphylococcus (MRSA), streptococcus and intestinal infections
--  Transition from conventional mono-therapy to a combinatorial approach
    using multi-therapy antibody and Lysin treatments
--  Address the growing challenge of drug resistance and therapy escape
    mechanisms used by pathogens

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.

Press Release:

This announcement is distributed by Thomson Reuters on behalf of Thomson Reuters clients. The owner of this announcement warrants that:

(i) the releases contained herein are protected by copyright and other applicable laws; and

(ii) they are solely responsible for the content, accuracy and originality of the information contained therein.

Source: MorphoSys AG via Thomson Reuters ONE


Contact Information

  • For more information, please contact:

    MorphoSys AG
    Dr. Claudia Gutjahr-Loser
    Head of Corporate Communications & IR
    Tel: +49 (0) 89 / 899 27-122

    Mario Brkulj
    Senior Manager Corporate Communications & IR
    Tel: +49 (0) 89 / 899 27-454

    Jessica Kulpi
    Specialist Corporate Communications & IR
    Tel: +49 (0) 89 / 899 27-332
    Email Contact

    ContraFect Corp
    Barry Kappel, Ph.D., MBA
    VP, Business Development
    Tel: +1 212 359 9552