MorphoSys AG (FSE: MOR; Prime Standard Segment, TecDAX) announced today that its research and diagnostic antibody segment AbD Serotec has initiated a research collaboration with FIND (Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics), a Swiss foundation that develops, evaluates and accelerates the implementation of new diagnostic tools for poverty-related diseases such as TB, malaria and sleeping sickness. The goal of the research alliance is to establish a series of heat-stable HuCAL-based antibodies as key components of novel diagnostic tests that are robust in tropical climates. Using MorphoSys’s proprietary HuCAL technology, AbD Serotec will identify heat-stable fully human antibodies specific for rapid diagnostic test applications for parasite detection. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.
Currently, rapid diagnostic test applications can allow detection of parasite antigens in a finger prick blood sample. However, most commercial diagnostic tests are developed for storage and use at 25-30ºC. High disease burden countries usually have higher ambient temperatures, which can lead to test degradation especially when taking into account the need for delivery to relatively remote locations in the developing world. Thus, temperature stability and prolonged shelf-life of diagnostic kits are critical factors for improving infectious disease control.
Under the terms of the agreement, FIND receives the rights for the commercial use of heat-stable HuCAL-derived antibodies for in vitro diagnostics. AbD Serotec will participate in sales of diagnostic tests using such antibodies in industrialized countries. If concluded successfully, the collaboration could be expanded to cover other disease areas of relevance for FIND’s objectives.
“Partnerships such as this, that bring together the private and public sectors, provide synergies which allow knowledge of diseases in their endemic settings to directly influence the selection and development of appropriate technologies for poverty-related diseases,” says Dr Giorgio Roscigno, FIND CEO. “We are very excited by our collaboration with AbD Serotec and the potential of introducing cutting-edge technologies in high disease burden countries. This can only lead to a more rapid impact on disease management in the field, where conditions are the most problematic. Although FIND is currently focused on diagnostic platforms for TB, malaria and sleeping sickness, numerous other infectious diseases may be diagnosed in the future using the same technological platforms.”
“We are very pleased to be able to establish a co-operation with FIND for the development of antibodies enabling the diagnostic industry to bring the much needed next generation diagnostic tools to the market. With infectious diseases spreading into new regions including many industrialized nations, an improved diagnostic test will not only help to prevent further spread of the disease in the developing world, it may represent also a significant commercial opportunity for AbD Serotec and MorphoSys in future,” commented Dieter Feger, Senior Vice President and Head of MorphoSys’s AbD Serotec unit. “We are looking forward to combining our expertise in the antibody development space with FIND’s disease knowledge and know-how in high disease burden countries. Our unique and fully in vitro based HuCAL technology allows us to actively direct the process of antibody generation to meet the needs of the project.”
FIND, based in Geneva, Switzerland, is a not-for-profit Swiss foundation whose mission is to drive the development and implementation of accurate and affordable diagnostic tests that can be used as near as possible to where patients first seek care. FIND’s disease portfolio currently includes tuberculosis, malaria and human African trypanosomiasis and donors are the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the European Union, the Government of the Netherlands, UNITAID, Irish Aid and other institutions and private donors. FIND is ISO 9001:2000 certified. For further information please visit www.finddiagnostics.org
MorphoSys is a publicly traded biotechnology company focused on the generation of fully human antibodies as a means to discover and develop innovative antibody-based drugs against life-threatening diseases. MorphoSys’s goal is to establish HuCAL as the technology of choice for antibody generation in research, diagnostics and therapeutic applications. The Company currently has therapeutic and research alliances with the majority of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies including Boehringer Ingelheim, Centocor/Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, Pfizer and Roche. Within these partnerships, more than 50 therapeutic antibody programs are ongoing in which MorphoSys participates through exclusive license and milestones payments as well as royalties on any end products. Additionally, MorphoSys is active in the antibody research market through its AbD Serotec business unit. The business unit has operations in Germany (Munich), the U.S. (Raleigh, NC) and U.K. (Oxford). For further information please visit www.morphosys.com
HuCAL®, HuCAL GOLD®, HuCAL PLATINUM® and RapMAT® are registered trademarks of MorphoSys AG
This communication contains certain forward-looking statements concerning the MorphoSys group of companies. The forward-looking statements contained herein represent the judgment of MorphoSys as of the date of this release and involve risks and uncertainties. Should actual conditions differ from the Company’s assumptions, actual results and actions may differ from those anticipated. MorphoSys does not intend to update any of these forward-looking statements as far as the wording of the relevant press release is concerned.
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