Healthcare Industry News: MORAb-003
News Release - October 12, 2006
Morphotek Raises $40 Million to Advance Its Antibody PipelineEXTON, Pa., Oct. 12 (HSMN NewsFeed) -- Morphotek® Inc., a privately held biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies, announced today the closing of a $40 million Series D financing. The financing was led by Investor Growth Capital of New York and included participation of new investors MDS Capital and Hunt BioVentures as well as existing investors Forward Ventures, Morgenthaler Ventures, SR One, Flagship Ventures, Burrill & Co., CB Health Ventures, and Rock Maple Ventures. The funds will be used primarily to further clinical development of the Company's lead therapeutic antibodies, MORAb-003 and MORAb- 009, and to advance its pipeline of preclinical antibodies for the treatment of oncology, inflammatory and infectious diseases.
Morphotek's lead antibody, MORAb-003, specifically targets the folate receptor alpha, a cell surface receptor over-expressed on ovarian, breast, colorectal, lung and renal tumors. Preclinical studies have demonstrated that the folate receptor alpha pathway is critical for both initiating and sustaining malignant characteristics of cancer cells over-expressing this protein. The antibody is currently being evaluated in a multi-institutional Phase 2 clinical trial in patients with relapsed platinum-sensitive ovarian cancer. To date, clinical results have shown that the antibody is well tolerated with no significant drug-related adverse events reported when administered either in mono or combination therapy.
Morphotek's second clinical-stage compound, MORAb-009, is currently in a Phase 1 study ongoing at Johns Hopkins, Fox Chase Cancer Center and the National Cancer Institute in patients with pancreatic, mesothelioma, non small cell lung and ovarian cancer.
"We are delighted to have completed this financing and welcome the new investors that bring additional biopharmaceutical expertise to the Company. We have developed a broad portfolio of monoclonal antibodies, and the participation of the new and existing investors in this round underscores the potential of our therapeutic pipeline and underlying antibody technologies," said Nicholas C. Nicolaides, Ph.D., Morphotek's President and Chief Executive Officer. "These funds provide the Company with sufficient resources to support our product development strategy and goals around our lead therapeutic antibodies and our preclinical pipeline."
"Morphotek's robust product pipeline and unique antibody technologies address unmet needs in large markets and offer tremendous upside," said Sunny Sharma, M.D., Venture Partner of Investor Growth Capital. "I am pleased to be joining the Board of Directors of Morphotek and look forward to contributing to the Company's success."
In addition to Dr. Sharma, Benjamin Rovinski, Ph.D., Venture Partner of MDS Capital, will be joining Morphotek's Board as part of the financing. Montgomery & Co. was the exclusive private placement agent for the financing.
Morphotek is a privately held biopharmaceutical company discovering and developing monoclonal antibodies for oncology, inflammation and infectious diseases through the use of a proprietary human antibody technology called Human MORPHODOMA®. Morphotek markets its Human MORPHODOMA® platform in collaboration with third parties to yield high quality human antibodies and attendant production lines that do not demand the burdensome royalty mandated by other antibody technologies. For further information, visit http://www.morphotek.com.
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