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MorphoSys and Novartis extend biopharmaceuticals tie-up

MorphoSys and Novartis extend their existing 2004 tie-up to discover and develop biopharmaceuticals

German biotech MorphoSys and Swiss-based Novartis have extended their existing 2004 tie-up to discover and develop biopharmaceuticals.

Per the agreement, Novartis will make a 10-year commitment to MorphoSys' HuCAL technology (Human Combinatorial Antibody Library), which involves in-vitro generation of highly specific and fully human antibodies.

Novartis has the option to prolong the collaboration for a further two years or to conclude the alliance after seven years in certain limited circumstances.

Both parties will engage in around double the annual number of therapeutic antibody discovery programmes, compared with the previous 2004 alliance, which encompasses a wide range of diseases.

MorphoSys also has options to participate in certain development activities in various programmes, with part of the early stage costs funded by Novartis. Under the co-development options, MorphoSys may elect to participate in these projects through cost and profit sharing.

Potentially big gains for MorphoSys
Based on a 10-year term, total annual payments could add up to over USD 600m in technology access, fees and R&D funding, excluding reimbursement of R&D costs related to early stage development activities. The expanded alliance also includes rights to co-detail co-developed products in specific territories through creation of MorphoSys' own sales force.

Total payments under the agreement, including committed payments and probability-weighted success-based milestones, contingent upon successful clinical development and market approval of multiple products, could exceed USD 1bn, if the collaboration runs to term. MorphoSys would also be entitled to royalty payments and/or profit sharing on any future product sales.

3rd December 2007

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