MorphoSys seeks $150M IPO to fund late-phase anticancer push

MorphoSys is setting a further $90 million aside for commercial build-out, reflecting its desire to keep at least copromotion rights in the U.S. (Nasdaq)

MorphoSys has filed to raise $150 million in a Nasdaq IPO. The listing will enable MorphoSys to pump $225 million into the development of MOR208 to establish the anti-CD19 antibody as a rival to CAR-T therapies and other therapeutics in a pair of oncology indications.

Planegg, Germany-based MorphoSys went public in its home country in 1999, raising €26 million, but has stayed on the sidelines as waves of its European peers have washed up on Wall Street in recent years. Now, with MorphoSys’ investment in in-house R&D set to step up another level, the biotech has turned stateside to raise its next tranche of money.

MorphoSys is yet to price the IPO but has penciled in $150 million as the fundraising target. Hitting that goal would equip MorphoSys to commit $225 million to its lead wholly-owned candidate, teeing up clinical trials in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). MorphoSys is setting a further $90 million aside for commercial build-out, reflecting its desire to keep at least copromotion rights in the U.S.

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The major commitment to the development of MOR208 comes shortly after MorphoSys shared an interim look at data from an ongoing DLBCL trial. Based on the response rates and still-rising PFS in patients failed by existing therapies, MorphoSys thinks it stands a chance of filing for approval based on results from the midphase study. The drug could come to market in the first half of 2020.

With that goal in sight, MorphoSys wants to race to develop MOR208 in DLBCL in combination with either Celgene’s Revlimid—the drug used in the aforementioned trial—or the generic chemotherapy bendamustine. In CLL, MorphoSys plans to combine MOR208 with either Venclexta or Zydelig to offer a option to patients who progress following treatment with a Bruton’s tyrosine kinase inhibitor, such as Imbruvica.

Those activities will capture the vast majority of MorphoSys’s spending over the coming years but it is setting aside relatively small sums to develop two other assets. MOR202, a potential, but distant, rival to Darzalex, is set to receive $20 million to fund trials in multiple myeloma and non-small cell lung cancer. MorphoSys has earmarked a further $30 million for development of Galapagos-partnered atopic dermatitis drug MOR106.