German antibody specialist MorphoSys AG announced an agreement with Melbourne University in Australia, giving it exclusive rights covering the use of inhibitors of GM-CSF in the development of antibodies for treating rheumatoid arthritis.
The company’s product, MOR103 is the first fully human antibody against GM-CSF to enter clinical trials and could provide a way of treating rheumatoid arthritis based on a mechanism of action distinct from existing antibody products, which target anti-TNF.
Melbourne University will an upfront payment, milestone payments associated with clinical development, and royalty payments based on net sales of products in the US.
GM-CSF was originally described as a white blood cell growth factor, but research at the university has focused attention its role as a central mediator of inflammatory diseases.
In pre-clinical studies, MOR103 has shown promising results in established RA disease models in rats.