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MorphoSys compound MOR103 gets US patent

German biotechnology company MorphoSys, a developer of novel antibodies for therapeutic, diagnostic and research applications, was granted a patent covering its most advanced proprietary compound MOR103 by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

MOR103 is implicated in a number of inflammatory and other conditions including rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and multiple sclerosis (MS).

The HuCAL-derived, fully human antibody is currently being tested in a clinical Phase 1b/2a trial in RA patients.

MorphoSys plans to start a Phase 1b safety study of MOR103 in MS patients in 2011.

The new patent covers MorphoSys’ HuCAL antibody against granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) as well as pharmaceutical compositions comprising the same and has a scheduled expiry date in 2026, and does not include any potential extensions.

It complements a US patent granted in 2008 covering medical uses of antibodies against GM-CSF, to which MorphoSys has exclusive access under a license agreement with the University of Melbourne.

Together, the two patent families provide strong intellectual property protection for the MOR103 program.

MorphoSys CEO Simon Moroney said the protection of intellectual property is a central part of MorphoSys’ business model and the company would continue to strengthen its intellectual property position in antibody-based products and services, particularly in Europe, the US and Asia.