MorphoSys trades assets with Immatics to bolster I-O ambitions

MorphoSys (ETR:MOR) has moved to add targets for its immuno-oncology arsenal. The agreement sees MorphoSys gain access to tumor-associated peptides discovered by its compatriot Immatics Biotechnologies in exchange for some of its antibodies, with both companies paying out milestones as their respective programs advance.

MorphoSys CEO Simon Moroney

Munich, Germany-based MorphoSys only had to look a little more than 100 miles away for a source of targets it thinks can give it an edge in the fiercely fought immuno-oncology field. Immatics, which made headlines this week when it hooked up with MD Anderson for a U.S. venture, discovered the targets using its Xpresident system. The platform makes use of mass spectrometry, biochemistry, genomics and immunology to churn out targets that are specific to cancer cells and recognized by T cells, a resource that MorphoSys plans to combine with its antibody technology.

"This alliance opens up the intracellular target space for us and thus complements the therapeutic approaches we use in other oncology programs," MorphoSys CSO Marlies Sproll said in a statement. MorphoSys is to turn its antibody-based therapeutic discovery capabilities against the targets, which cover multiple solid and hematological cancers. To gain access to the targets, MorphoSys is giving Immatics access and development rights to antibodies against targets discovered using the latter's Xpresident system.

Immatics US CEO Harpreet Singh

Picking up the rights to the antibodies gives Immatics the basic building blocks needed to expand its immuno-oncology pipeline into a new class of products. "We are now entering the field of antibody-based therapeutics," Immatics CSO Dr. Harpreet Singh said in a statement. The expansion is contributing to a broadening of the R&D horizons at Immatics, which has started to make strides into the U.S., notably by committing $40 million to a collaboration with researchers at MD Anderson.

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