With no partner, MorphoSys drops MOR202 in myeloma
- As part of its second quarter earnings call, MorphoSys has announced the discontinued development of its CD38 antibody MOR202 in myeloma and lung cancer.
- I-Mab, MorphoSys' partner in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao, will continue development. I-Mab holds exclusive rights for development and commercialization in the Greater China region. A pivotal study in multiple myeloma is planned for the first quarter of 2019.
- MorphoSys will continue to evaluate development options for MOR202 in other indications.
MOR202 has been in Phase 1/2a clinical trials since at least 2015, and while founder and CEO Simon Moroney put this down to the lack of a partner and the "competitive situation in the Western world," the slow progress also played a part in the discontinuation in multiple myeloma.
"We announced that we've decided not to continue development of MOR202 in multiple myeloma beyond completion of the current study. We had already said … that in the light of intense competition, we would not continue to develop MOR202 in multiple myeloma without having [a] suitable partner," said Moroney.
"There are a couple of other programs that are ahead of us, including, of course, daratumumab, which is well-established in the market, but also now increasingly other mechanisms and other approaches," Moroney added. "Given the opportunities we have elsewhere in the pipeline … it really doesn't make sense for us to continue to invest in [MOR202 for] multiple myeloma."
MO202 was previously in development in partnership with Celgene, but the two companies ended their collaboration in March 2015. MorphoSys stated at the time that it would continue development of the drug alone and in combination with Celgene's lenalidomide and pomalidomide in relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma patients. Data published in 2016 showed objective responses in between 57% and 91% of patients for combinations.
MorphoSys signed a deal with I-Mab worth up to $120 million plus royalties late in 2017. This is unaffected, and clinical trials in China are planned for 2018.
The discontinuation of development in multiple myeloma "doesn't refer to China," Moroney said. "I should emphasize that. We think that our colleagues at I-Mab Biopharma have a great opportunity in China for MOR202."
Development of MOR202 in other areas is ongoing.
"We have clinical data on [MOR202 that hints at activity in other indications, for example non-oncology indications, and we're in the process of looking at the possibility of starting a Phase 2 trial in another indication. We're not prepared to say in what that will be, but we do see opportunities there," said Moroney.
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