Healthcare Industry News:  protein therapeutics 

Biopharmaceuticals Licensing

 News Release - March 6, 2008

Morphotek(R) Signs Exclusive Licensing Agreement for Anti-Cancer Antibody

Fully Human Antibody Targets an Antigen Expressed on a Variety of Cancer Types

EXTON, Pa.--(HSMN NewsFeed)--Morphotek®, Inc., a subsidiary of Eisai Co., Ltd., announced today that it has signed a licensing agreement with Human Monoclonals International, Inc. (HMI) for exclusive rights to a human monoclonal IgM antibody that is specific to a cancer cell surface antigen. Morphotek will apply its proprietary MORPHODOMA® antibody technology and know-how with the goal of developing an optimized lead therapeutic monoclonal antibody and high-titer cell lines suitable for scalable manufacturing.

“This agreement provides yet another important addition to our therapeutic antibody portfolio,” said Nicholas Nicolaides, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Morphotek. “Safety data and positive clinical observations from an exploratory Phase I clinical trial in patients with metastatic melanoma have been reported. Our antibody optimization and development expertise will enable the further development of this promising antibody and clinical proof-of-concept studies in more types of cancer.”

The in-licensed antibody was discovered through years of basic research focused on tumor cell biology and human cancer, in which researchers screened for naturally occurring antibodies made by the patient’s immune system and discovered antibodies to several tumor-associated cell surface antigens. Antibodies discovered using this approach offer a means to isolate antibodies that recognize epitopes present on tumor antigens in their natural conformation. Epitopes are regions of an antigen that can elicit immune responses and can bind antibodies produced against the antigen. Morphotek will apply its antibody expertise to advance this optimized lead molecule into possible clinical trials in a variety of oncologic indications.

About Morphotek

Morphotek, Inc., a subsidiary of Eisai Co., Ltd., is a biopharmaceutical company specializing in the development of protein and antibody products through the use of a novel and proprietary gene evolution technology. The technology has been successfully applied to a broad variety of cell lines and organisms to yield genetically diverse offspring that are suitable for pharmaceutical product development in the areas of antibody therapeutics, protein therapeutics, product manufacturing, drug target discovery, and improved output traits for commercial applications. The company is currently focusing its platform on the development and manufacturing of therapeutic antibodies for the treatment of cancer, inflammation and infectious disease. For more information, please visit

About Eisai Co., Ltd.

Eisai Co., Ltd. is a research-based human health care (hhc) company that discovers, develops and markets products throughout the world. Eisai focuses its efforts in three areas of therapeutic focus: Integrative neuroscience including neurology and psychiatric medicines; gastrointestinal disorders; and integrative oncology including oncotherapy and supportive-care treatments. Through a global network of research facilities, manufacturing sites and marketing subsidiaries, Eisai actively participates in all aspects of the worldwide health care system. Eisai employs approximately 10,000 people worldwide and forecasts worldwide sales of ¥739 billion in FY2007 (year ended March 31, 2008). More than 50 percent of the group sales are derived from overseas business. For more information, please visit

Source: Morphotek

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