Advanced Protein Engineering Technology will Enable Novozymes to Bring Down Discovery Time and Expand Project Portfolio
MorphoSys AG (FSE: MOR; Prime Standard Segment, TecDAX) and Novozymes A/S, the world leader in bio-innovation and industrial enzymes, announced today the signing of a multi-year licensing and technology transfer agreement. The agreement provides Novozymes with a non-exclusive license to use MorphoSys’s proprietary Slonomics technology to develop novel products within the industrial biotechnology sector. Novozymes becomes the first industrial biotech company with access to Slonomics technology. Financial details were not disclosed.
“In order to develop the best enzymes in the most efficient way we need access to the best available technologies,” says Ejner Bech Jensen, Vice President of Novozymes Research & Development. “The Slonomics toolbox will enable a reduction in our discovery times. This means we can bring new innovation to the market faster and we can take on more development projects.”
In the search for enzymes with a specific action – for example a laundry detergent enzyme that can remove fruit stains – Novozymes’ researchers create multiple variants of the enzyme in order to find the one with the best properties. The variants are produced by making minor changes to the string of amino acids, which are the enzyme’s building blocks. This is followed by a screening procedure to identify the best enzyme candidate.
Due to technical drawbacks with standard technologies, researchers today cannot combine amino acids the exact way they want without also producing additional millions of undesired enzyme variants. All variants then have to be screened in a task similar to finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
Slonomics technology, which comprises patented methods and know-how, advanced materials and robotic equipment, allows combination of building blocks in exactly the preferred order and composition. Researchers can thus create only the desired diversity among a set of enzyme variants, eliminating all the undesired combinations. In a typical scenario, Novozymes’ researchers can reduce the number of variants made from millions to ten thousand. Sole access to Slonomics was secured by MorphoSys via its October, 2010 acquisition of Sloning BioTechnology GmbH, a leading supplier of synthetic biology tools.
“Sloning has been delivering combinatorial libraries to Novozymes for the past three years and I am very pleased that we are able to expand our business relationship significantly with this licensing arrangement,” commented Dieter Feger, Senior Vice President and Head of AbD Serotec. “There is strong interest in this technology, which can be applied in many different ways within the industrial biotechnology industry.”
Continuous innovation is fundamental to Novozymes’ business. The company spends roughly 14% of its revenue on research and development and launches 6-8 new products each year. Historically, 25-30% of the company’s sales have stemmed from products developed within the past 5 years. Novozymes reported sales of DKK 9.7 billion (USD 1.8 billion) in 2010.
Novozymes is a world leader in bioinnovation. Together with its customers, across a broad array of industries, the company creates tomorrow’s industrial biosolutions thereby improving its customers' business and optimizing the use of the planet's resources. With over 700 products used in 130 different countries, Novozymes’ bioinnovations improve industrial performance by offering superior and sustainable solutions for tomorrow’s ever-changing marketplace. Novozymes’ natural solutions enhance and promote everything from removing trans fats in cooking, to advancing biofuels that will power the world of tomorrow. Novozymes never-ending exploration of nature’s potential is evidenced by over 6,000 patents issued and show what is possible when nature and technology are combined. With 5,000+ employees working around the world, Novozymes is clearly committed to shaping business today and our world tomorrow. For further information, visit www.novozymes.com
MorphoSys developed HuCAL, the most successful antibody library technology in the pharmaceutical industry. By successfully applying this and other patented technologies, MorphoSys has become a leader in the field of therapeutic antibodies, one of the fastest-growing drug classes in human healthcare. The Company’s AbD Serotec unit uses HuCAL and other technologies to generate superior monoclonal antibodies for research and diagnostic applications.
Through its own development efforts and successful partnerships in the pharmaceutical industry, MorphoSys has built a therapeutic pipeline of more than 70 human antibody drug candidates for the treatment of cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease, to name just a few. With its ongoing commitment to new antibody technology and drug development, MorphoSys is focused on engineering the medicines of tomorrow. MorphoSys is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange under the symbol MOR. For regular updates about MorphoSys, visit http://www.morphosys.com
HuCAL®, HuCAL GOLD®, HuCAL PLATINUM®, CysDisplay®, RapMAT® and arYla® are registered trademarks of MorphoSys AG. Ylanthia® and 100 billion high potentialsTM are trademarks of MorphoSys AG.
Slonomics® is a registered trademark of Sloning BioTechnology GmbH, a subsidiary 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.
Dr. Claudia Gutjahr-Löser
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