MorphoSys has presented at ASCO optimistic results of MOR202’s phase I/IIa study, a candidate treatment against multiple myeloma. The project was doubted after Celgene’s abandon, but now, safety and efficacy data have shown that there is nothing to worry about.

MOR202 is a fully human monoclonal HuCAL antibody targeting CD38, a highly expressed and validated target in multiple myeloma. CD38 is a promising target for the treatment of this type of cancer and potentially for hematological malignancies too. An effective antibody against this target could not only change future treatment regimens in multiple myeloma, but also embody a basis for treating several other types of cancer. CD38 is, for instance, on the spot of Johnson&Johnson, whose candidate daratumumab also aims this precise enzyme.

MorphoSys might have overcome the setback of being dumped by Celgene, but the company is still facing a big challenge. Johnson&Johnson presented last week at ASCO promising results from daratumumab’s Phase II in patients with treatment-resistant multiple myeloma. The J&J’s treatment, developed in collaboration with Danish Genmab, is therefore one step ahead.

Morphosys’ MOR202 needs to be really effective to get this tough market. It is still too soon to know whether the drug candidate will excel or not but, at least, it is far from the red flag that were raised after Celgene’s abandon.

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