Drug Research
Drug Discovery & Development

Novartis to pay EUR95m to Galapagos and MorphoSys for skin drug rights

PBR Staff Writer Published 20 July 2018

Novartis has agreed to make an upfront payment of EUR95m to Galapagos and MorphoSys to in-license IL-17C compound for atopic dermatitis.

Under the deal, Novartis will acquire the exclusive global development and marketing rights to MOR106 for atopic dermatitis and all other potential indications.

Based on the achievement of certain developmental, regulatory, commercial and sales-based milestones, the companies will reportedly receive up to €850m ($1bn) from Novartis.

Novartis immunology, hepatology and dermatology global development unit head Eric Hughes said: "We are a leader in immuno-dermatology and committed to reimagining the care of patients with severe diseases such as psoriasis, chronic spontaneous urticaria and atopic dermatitis.

“There is a key role for biologics to treat these severe diseases, which are more than just skin conditions, as they have complex underlying root causes.”

AD, a form of eczema, is a dermatologic disease that will result in intense itching and recurring lesion. The disease is said to affect around 8% of adults and 14% of children across the globe.

MOR106 is an investigational, fully human and IgG1 monoclonal antibody directed against the target IL-17C.

MOR106 is an extension of the Novartis AD portfolio, which comprises oral ZPL389 in phase II study.

According to Novartis, MOR106 has showed demonstrated first signs of efficacy and was generally safe and well tolerated in a double blind placebo-controlled Phase Ib study.

MorphoSys CEO Dr Simon Moroney said: “This collaboration with Novartis will enable us to accelerate and broaden the development of MOR106 beyond our current focus on atopic dermatitis and to exploit the potential of MOR106 to the maximum.

“Data from preclinical models and expression analyses suggest that the target of MOR106 might be involved in other diseases, which justifies expanding the development program.”

Image: Novartis headquarters in Basel, Switzerland. Photo: courtesy of Novartis AG.