MorphoSys unveils new antibody technology

Ylanthia will show higher success rates and shorter timelines in antibody drug development

MorphoSys has released unveiled its next-generation antibody technology Ylanthia. Commercial application will start in 2012. Munich, Germany based MorphoSys says Ylanthia takes antibody technology beyond current methods, including the company’s own HuCAL platform.

‘Ylanthia addresses many issues currently limiting the success of this class of drugs. This innovative platform will open up attractive commercial opportunities for us as it delivers a stream of new antibody drugs both for ourselves and our partners,’ says Simon Moroney, chief executive of MorphoSys.

Many antibodies currently fail in development due to poor biophysical properties, which render the molecule “not developable”. If the antibody cannot be manufactured, or its properties make it difficult to handle, chances of successful commercialisation are slim. In addition, failure to generate antibodies against all regions or “epitopes” of a target may lead to highly promising disease targets being overlooked. Lack of diversity in antibody generation means that putative targets often are not fully “interrogated” with antibodies intended to probe their role in disease processes. The Ylanthia technology was specifically conceived and designed to overcome these limitations, the firm says.

Ylanthia comprises a large collection of human antibodies. Features that distinguish Ylanthia from other technologies include:

  • Size and heavy/light chain pairing: Ylanthia uses 36 fixed, naturally occurring heavy and light chain framework combinations, which translates into unprecedented structural diversity;
  • Biophysical properties: Antibody frameworks were pre-selected for expression levels, stability and aggregation behaviour. A shift towards higher stability and stress tolerance will increase shelf life and serum stability of resulting antibody products, making them more cost-effective to produce and administer;
  • Optimisation: When needed, antibodies from the Ylanthia library are optimised using MorphoSys’s proprietary Slonomics technology, which MorphoSys obtained through its 2010 acquisition of Sloning BioTechnology.

‘By engineering out the very flaws that lead to delays in antibody programmes, we expect Ylanthia to result in higher overall success rates and shorter timelines in antibody drug development,’ commented Marlies Sproll, chief scientific officer of MorphoSys.

‘Ylanthia will allow us fully to interrogate disease targets, to deliver unique drug candidates, and potentially even to re-visit “false negatives” – targets which were overlooked when worked on with other technologies.’

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