Combination of technologies set to increase success rates in drug development
MorphoSys has acquired the private German company Sloning BioTechnology, based near Munich, which specialises in developing new methods of synthetic biology. The transaction will make MorphoSys the sole source of Sloning's state-of-the-art Slonomics technology, which dramatically improves the assembly and quality of protein libraries.
By integrating Slonomics into its existing antibody technology platform, MorphoSys expects to improve the generation of drug candidates such that one in every two projects started reaches clinical development. The technology will also be used to accelerate the generation of both therapeutic and diagnostic antibodies.
‘This acquisition secures our position at the forefront of antibody technology,’ said MorphoSys ceo Dr Simon Moroney. ‘Sloning's unique technology is the most powerful method available for assembling protein libraries and has been proven to deliver superior products for a range of applications.
‘We plan to use it to generate optimised antibodies much faster than can be done today and also to gain access to antibodies that simply can't be made with current technologies.’
Sloning's patented core technology enables the precise construction of protein libraries comprising defined mixtures of amino acids at pre-determined positions with unprecedented speed. This technology opens the way to a new and flexible approach to generating optimised proteins, such as antibodies.
‘Current antibody generation technologies use an initial repertoire, which largely determines the properties of the resulting antibody. We intend to use Slonomics as the basis of a fundamentally different approach, which will rapidly test multiple generations of antibodies, equivalent to screening many billions of molecules, to isolate the best possible candidate,’ explained Dr Marlies Sproll, chief scientific officer at MorphoSys. ‘We expect to shorten the time needed to generate an antibody drug candidate by a third and, even more importantly, to increase the proportion of programmes reaching clinical development to 50%.’
‘We believe that the two companies' technology portfolios and extensive expertise will lead to superior therapeutic, diagnostic and industrial products,’ added Sloning ceo Dr Heinz Schwer, who will join MorphoSys as a member of the senior management team.