MorphoSys hooks up with G7 Therapeutics to feed hunger for stabilized GPCRs

MorphoSys (ETR:MOR) has struck another deal to support its ambitions to create antibodies against G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). The latest deal sees MorphoSys hook up with G7 Therapeutics, a Swiss biotech with platforms for the creation of stabilized GPCRs suitable for structure-based drug design.

MorphoSys CEO Simon Moroney

Martinsried, Germany-based MorphoSys last looked outside its walls for a source of stabilized GPCRs when it teamed up with Heptares Therapeutics in 2013. The lastest deal is reminiscent of that earlier foray into GPCR research. In both cases, MorphoSys has turned to a fellow European biotech to gain access to stabilized receptors of relevance to its target diseases that it can combine with its Ylanthia antibody library. The fusion of GPCR technologies that overcome long-standing stability problems and MorphoSys' library is intended to open up a potentially huge new pool of antibody targets.

G7 is a young company but the people in and around the organization have notable credentials. UniQure ($QURE) CEO Jörn Aldag is a co-founder and is supporting the business as a strategic advisor. Aldag is joined on the board by fellow co-founders Andreas Plückthun and Daniel Scott, who invented the CHESS stabilization technology on which G7's business is based while working at the University of Zurich. Both continue to work in academia--Plückthun heads up the biochemistry department at the University of Zurich--while acting as strategic advisors to G7.

Carlo Bertozzi, a former research scientist at the university, is CEO, giving him responsibility for using the technology to develop the business. "Our proprietary CHESS and SaBRE technologies allow us to generate tailor-made GPCRs with superior biophysical properties making them ideally suited for modern integrated small molecule drug discovery approaches and efficient selection of biologics," Bertozzi said in a statement.

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