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The Deal: Celgene, MorphoSys Strike Deal on Blood Cancer Drug

CD38 is a protein found on the surface of tumor cells in MM and certain leukemias. Once attached to the CD38 site, MOR202 attracts natural killer cells that can more easily identify and eradicate the cancer cells.

MOR202 has shown encouraging results given alone, as a monotherapy, and with other therapies such as Revlimid and a proteasome inhibitor.

Other companies are interested in the CD38 area as well. Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ - Get Report) biologics unit Janssen Biotech signed a licensing agreement in August with Genmab A/S worth nearly $1 billion to help develop that company's anti-CD38 biologic. Called daratumumab, the drug candidate recently received breakthrough therapy designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. A Phase 1/2 safety study is ongoing.

Sanofi (SNY - Get Report) also has an anti-CD38 drug candidate, SAR650984, in Phase 1 trials.

Written by Pamela Taulbee

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