Morphotek Announces Initiation of a Phase I Study for MORAb-028, an IgM-Type Monoclonal Antibody, in Patients with Advanced Melanoma
EXTON, Pa., Aug 16, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Morphotek(R),Inc., a subsidiary of Eisai Inc., announced today that the John Wayne Cancer Institute in Santa Monica, California has opened enrollment in a Phase I clinical study with MORAb-028 in patients with advanced melanoma.
MORAb-028 is a fully human recombinant IgM-type antibody. Pre-clinical pharmacology studies suggest that MORAb-028 binds to GD2, a cell surface ganglioside that is expressed on cells associated with melanoma, small cell lung carcinoma and a subset of other cancer types. There is pre-clinical scientific evidence suggesting that targeting GD2 using antibodies may suppress tumor growth. In 2004, Morphotek licensed technology relating to MORAb-028 from Micromet, Inc.
"Based on our pre-clinical pharmacology studies, MORAb-028 will first be evaluated in patients with advanced melanoma," said Martin D. Phillips, M.D., Morphotek's Chief Medical Officer. "We are fortunate to work with some of the world's leading health care institutions focused on treating melanoma and we look forward to the commencement of this study."
"MORAb-028 represents another one of several antibodies being researched and developed by Morphotek that directly or indirectly targets pathways associated with certain cancers. Our strategy of using collaborations with academic and other biotechnology companies provides us opportunities to develop novel medicines that target disease-specific pathways," said Nicholas Nicolaides, President and CEO of Morphotek. "MORAb-028 offers Morphotek and Eisai a unique platform technology utilizing IgM-type antibodies."
Morphotek(R), 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 antibodies 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 with fiscal year 2009 (year ended March 31, 2010) sales of approximately $3.9 billion. Eisai'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 Maryland, 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.
SOURCE: Morphotek, Inc.
Nicholas Nicolaides, 610-423-6100
Judee Shuler, 201-746-2241
Dave Melin, 908-255-6378