Morphotek®, Inc. Announces Acquisition of Tumor Targeting Assets From Transmolecular

Morphotek®, Inc. Announces Acquisition of Tumor Targeting Assets From Transmolecular

Platform technology complements Morphotek's antibody targeting technologies and therapeutic antibody pipeline
EXTON, Pa., April 4, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Morphotek®, Inc., a subsidiary of Eisai Inc., announced today that it has acquired certain assets relating to a proprietary tumor targeting platform from TransMolecular, Inc. (TMI) for an undisclosed upfront payment and future development milestones. TMI, a biotechnology company headquartered in King of Prussia, PA, developed the tumor-targeting peptide (TTP) platform capable of delivering conjugated radionucleotides, chemotoxins, nanoparticles and optical dyes to tumor cells via systemic administration. The TTP technology has been validated in multiple preclinical studies and clinical trials that have demonstrated tumor-specific delivery of conjugated TTP. 

"While we are enthusiastic about the current technologies being utilized throughout our Eisai Product Creation Systems (EPCS) network to support our near-term pipeline goals," said Mr. Hideki Hayashi, Chief Product Creation Officer of Eisai Co., Ltd., "Our strategy is to continue to pursue access to new cutting-edge technologies that will enable us to further support our current and future pipeline objectives as we strive to develop highly innovative medicines to address the needs of patients with serious illnesses. The acquisition of the TMI tumor targeting platform is yet another step in our evolution to become a leader in developing disease-specific compounds that can target disease cells and/or treat the underlying cause of a targeted disease."

TMI's TTP was originally isolated from scorpion venom. The peptide was identified and pursued experimentally based on its ability to specifically bind and suppress growth of activated epithelial cells. Subsequent studies have found the peptide and engineered variants can bind be internalized by malignant cells via the annexin A2 complex.

"The acquisition of these TMI assets by Morphotek is an excellent outcome for TMI's investors, who will directly receive proceeds and potential future milestone payments from this transaction.  We have great confidence in Morphotek's ability to develop innovative therapies created from TMI's broadly enabling platform technology, and we look forward to seeing these therapies benefit patients," added Curt LaBelle, Director of the Board of TMI."

The transaction provides Morphotek and Eisai exclusive ownership of TTP for therapeutic and diagnostic uses.  Morphotek intends to pursue the TTP platform through collaboration with other EPCS units to develop TTP conjugates for treating a variety of different cancers.

About Morphotek

Morphotek, Inc., a subsidiary of Eisai Inc., 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 proteins for the treatment of cancer, inflammation and infectious disease.  For more information, please visit www.morphotek.com.

About Eisai Inc.

Eisai Inc. was established in 1995 and is ranked among the top-20 U.S. pharmaceutical companies (based on retail sales).  The company began marketing its first product in the United States in 1997 and has rapidly grown to become a fully integrated pharmaceutical business.  Eisai Inc.'s areas of commercial focus include neurology, gastrointestinal disorders and oncology/critical care.  The company serves as the U.S. pharmaceutical operation of Eisai Co., Ltd., a research-based human health care (hhc) company that discovers, develops and markets products throughout the world. 

Eisai has a global product creation organization that includes U.S.-based R&D facilities in Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina and Pennsylvania as well as manufacturing facilities in Maryland and North Carolina.  The company's areas of R&D focus include neuroscience; oncology; vascular, inflammatory and immunological reaction; and antibody-based programs.  For more information about Eisai, please visit www.eisai.com/US.

Suggested Articles

After its recent $4.8 billion buyout of gene therapy specialist Spark Therapeutics, Roche is now handing over one of its execs as its CMO.

Halozyme CEO Helen Torley discusses how the company stayed alive after its lead program, a treatment for pancreatic cancer, failed in phase 3.

The under-active genes that cause heart problems and poor muscle movement in Down syndrome may also impede the growth of solid tumors, a study found.