Two German biotechs with highly successful platforms join forces to fight cancer. MorphoSys and Immatics Biotechnologies want to generate novel antibody-based therapeutics against multiple cancer antigens.

They are two of the thriving forces in the German biotech scene. Munich’s MorphoSys claims having developed the most successful antibody library technology in the pharma industry, currently has 100 distinct drugs in research and development and is worth €1.67Bn. Tübingen-based Immatics owns the leading target discovery platform in cancer immunotherapy and raised over €120M. And now they want to team up. What a match!

Here’s how they want to tackle cancer: Tumor cells contain specific peptides that are not present in healthy cells. These are presented on the surface through specialized receptors, so-called major histocompatibility complex (MHC) receptors. The collaboration between Immatics and MorphoSys aims to discover antibodies against these MHC-bound peptide targets in order to kill the tumor cells.

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Within the collaboration, MorphoSys gets several tumor-associated peptides that were discovered using Immatics’ platform. These are present in a number of solid and hematological cancers and can be used as antibody targets.

In return, Immatics will be provided with some of MorphoSys’ antibodies against a number of its discovered peptides. The companies will pay each other undisclosed milestones as well as royalties on marketed products.

The partnering is especially valuable for MorphoSys. It had to sustain a major drop of its stock after Celgene had abandoned the company. Since then, both collaborations with Novartis and Heptares Therapeutics advanced. With all these good news, MorphoSys stock slowly recovers.

The merging could pave the way for a leading immuno-oncology player, from which the whole biotech ecosystem could profit.

Bonus, we interviewed the CEO of Immatics Paul Higham during our South German Tour. Here’s the video:

Immatics – Paul Higham, CEO from LabiotechTour on Vimeo.

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