AbbVie and Morphic Therapeutic have entered into a research and development collaboration, designed to advance multiple Morphic's oral integrin therapeutics for fibrosis-related indications.
Fibrosis occurs when chronic inflammation or persistent injury leads to the development of excessive connective tissue, which can lead to organ damage and impaired function.
Fibrotic diseases can affect nearly all tissues and organ systems and, due to limited treatment options, can cause serious illness and death.
Morphic Therapeutic has developed a unique platform for designing integrin oral inhibitors to block TGF-β activation, thought to be a key approach to halt or reverse fibrosis, in a tissue-specific manner.
The platform was developed through foundational collaborations with Morphic scientific founder Tim Springer and Schrödinger, Inc.
Morphic Therapeutic president and CEO Praveen Tipirneni said: “We welcome the global scientific and clinical development expertise of AbbVie as a strategic collaborator and look forward to investigating together the role of integrin biology in the potential treatment of multiple devastating human diseases involving fibrosis.
“Combined with our recent financing, we are in an excellent position to further the development of our pipeline and more fully extract value from what we believe is the world’s only broad-based structure enabled integrin drug discovery platform.”
AbbVie immunology discovery vice president Dr Lisa Olson said: “Fibrosis represents a major area of medical need as it can impact nearly every major organ system and has limited targeted treatments to address the underlying cause.
“We believe that integrin biology could play an important role in the future treatment paradigm of serious immune-mediated diseases where fibrotic mechanisms contribute to the pathology. We are pleased to partner with the team at Morphic to develop therapies together for patients with these serious conditions.”
Under the terms of the agreement, AbbVie will pay Morphic an upfront payment of $100 million for exclusive license options on product candidates directed at multiple targets.
For each compound, Morphic will conduct R&D activities through the completion of Investigational New Drug (IND)-enabling studies, at which point AbbVie may pay a license fee to exercise its exclusive license option and assume responsibility for global development and commercialization.
Morphic is also eligible for additional, undisclosed clinical and commercial milestone payments and tiered royalties on worldwide net sales for each compound.
Morphic retains cost-sharing rights in the development of liver fibrosis indications, and may opt into paying a percentage of AbbVie’s development costs in exchange for enhanced royalties. The transaction is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act.
Prior to this collaboration, AbbVie Ventures was an investor in Morphic Therapeutic’s Series A and Series B financing.