Morphosys: from “protein optimization” to pharmaceuticals

The German biotechnology company Morphosys has made another stride towards marketing tafasitamab – its drug for treating B-cell malignancies such as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma – in the US. At the end of October, the Munich-based company announced that the Real World Data Study had shown that tafasitamab in combination with lenalidomide is clinically superior to treating these cancers.

Woman; Quelle: GettyImages/Martin-Barraud
© GettyImages/Martin-Barraud

Morphosys is an example of how medical biotechnology works in Germany. Founded near Munich in 1992, the company began doing business as a technology specialist known as the “Moprhosys Society for Protein Optimization, Ltd.” Back then, it was dedicated strictly to producing antibodies.

Over the course of the next two decades, Morphosys developed through its expertise a broad network of partnerships with major pharmaceutical companies around the world, including Novartis, Roche, Bayer, and Johnson & Johnson. The big drug makers used Morphosys technologies in the development of their own products. Meanwhile, Morphosys concluded cooperation and partnership agreements guaranteeing licensing income and performance bonuses which analysts say may now be pumped back into financing the company’s own R&D.

Morphosys is currently poised to move from the business of antibodies to marketing pharmaceuticals itself. Tafasitamab is currently in clinical trials and was granted breakthrough therapy designation (BTD) by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2017 for certain types of B-cell lymphoma. The company has also set up marketing infrastructure in the US and is due to begin the FDAs licensing procedure.

Morphosys is just one of more than 400 medical biotechnology companies in Germany. The country is also home to Europe’s largest medical biotechnology sector. Its companies offer the full range of services including contract research and manufacturing.

The export initiative for the German healthcare industry, HEALTH MADE IN GERMANY, has published the German Medical Biotechnology Industry Profile, which is a good place to start to get to know the German medical biotech landscape. Experts from HEALTH MADE IN GERMANY will be at a stand at BIO-Europe in Hamburg from November 11 to November 13 to provide information on the German medical biotech sector and the healthcare industry as well.

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