MorphoSys CEO Simon Moroney announces his retirement

MorphoSys co-founder Simon Moroney announced his plans to retire from the company. He will step down as CEO after his current contract expires in June 2020, or earlier if a successor is appointed before that time.

“I am immensely proud of everything we've achieved over the past 27 years since MorphoSys was founded,” said Moroney, who helped launch the cancer-focused biotech in 1992, and was named its CEO in 1994.

“After dedicating such a long time to MorphoSys, I am looking forward to having more time for other interests, and to exploring new opportunities,” he said in a statement.

“I would like to thank everyone who has worked for MorphoSys for their contributions over the years and wish my colleagues well in their ongoing efforts to discover and develop innovative new treatments for patients suffering from serious diseases.”

RELATED: MorphoSys supersizes IPO, bagging $208M for cancer R&D

MorphoSys raised $208 million through its IPO listing in April of last year, topping its $150 million goal, and without the help of its previous investors.

Those proceeds gave MorphoSys more than $500 million in total to help develop its CD19 antibody MOR208, which it believes can compete with CAR-T therapies with safer, more durable anticancer efficacy without the complexity that comes with cell therapies.

The company is aiming for an FDA approval in relapsed or refractory diffuse large B cell lymphoma based on midphase data and a breakthrough therapy designation, with the goal of bringing MOR208 to market in the first half of next year.

“Simon has played a central role in establishing MorphoSys as a major force in the field of therapeutic antibodies and has put it firmly on track to becoming a fully integrated company,” said Marc Cluzel, chairman of the company’s supervisory board. “He leaves MorphoSys in a very strong position to continue its successful growth trajectory.”

Earlier this month, the Planegg, Germany-based Morphosys picked up EMD Serono’s senior commercial VP of oncology, David Trexler, to serve as president of its U.S. subsidiary.

At EMD Serono, part of Germany’s Merck KGaA, Trexler served as global brand lead for its Bavencio immunotherapy franchise and headed up its U.S. launch. Before that, he spent 10 years in oncology marketing roles at Eisai.

"I am enthused to join MorphoSys US Inc. at this exciting time in the company's development," Trexler said in a statement. "I look forward to working closely with the entire MorphoSys team to build our U.S. organization to enable a successful launch of MOR208 in this country, subject of course to prior FDA approval."