Morphotek®, Inc. Presents Preclinical Findings At ESGO 19 On The Potential Immunosuppressive Effects Of The CA125 Tumor Antigen On Farletuzumab, An Investigational Anti-Folate Receptor Alpha Antibody

EXTON, Pa., Oct. 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Morphotek®, Inc., a subsidiary of Eisai Inc., announced today that it has presented preclinical data showing the immunosuppressive effects of the CA125 tumor antigen on the investigational humanized anti-folate receptor alpha monoclonal antibody, farletuzumab, at the 19th International Meeting of the European Society of Gynaecological Oncology ( held October 24-27, 2015 in Nice, France.

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Previously published work by independent laboratories has shown that the human CA125 tumor antigen may potentially suppress immune-mediated killing of NK (natural killer) cell lymphocytes. A mechanism of NK cell immune-mediated killing is believed to be through the engagement of monoclonal antibodies (mAb) bound to cell surface tumor antigens, a biological process called antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC). Farletuzumab is an investigational humanized mAb that targets tumor cells through binding with the cell surface expressed folate receptor alpha (FRA). FRA is over-expressed by the majority of serous ovarian carcinoma and at varying degrees on a variety of other cancer types.

The poster presentation "Effect of Immunosuppressive CA125 Tumor Antigen on Farletuzumab Antibody-Dependent Cellular Cytotoxicity" highlighted the effects of CA125 on farletuzumab's impact on FRA-expressing tumor cells via ADCC. These findings, along with previously published work by independent laboratories, have led to the hypothesis that patients with high levels of CA125 have an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment that may potentially enable cancer cells to escape immune-mediated cytotoxicity, including ADCC.

"The findings that tumor shed antigens such as CA125 have immunosuppressive effects on patients' immune cells that are programmed to destroy abnormal cells such as carcinoma have many implications on the future development of immune-based cancer therapies," stated Luigi Grasso, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of Morphotek. "We continue to pioneer research in this area that could enable us to design next-generation agents, as well as treatment regimens to overcome the numerous barriers that tumors evolve to evade immune surveillance, including ADCC suppression."

As part of these findings, Morphotek has recently initiated a clinical study in first-relapsed, platinum-sensitive ovarian cancer patients with low CA125 levels. The double-blind, randomized-controlled study is designed to prospectively evaluate the clinical effects observed in the previously conducted Phase 3 trial in the pre-specified subset of patients treated with farletuzumab exhibiting low CA125 levels. Further information on the clinical study can be found at, study number NCT02289950.

About Morphotek

Morphotek®, Inc., a subsidiary of Eisai Inc., is a biopharmaceutical company specializing in the development of protein and antibody products through the use of a novel and proprietary gene evolution technology.  The technology has been successfully applied to a broad variety of cell lines and organisms to yield genetically diverse offspring that are suitable for pharmaceutical product development in the areas of antibody therapeutics, protein therapeutics, product manufacturing, drug target discovery, and improved output traits for commercial applications.  The company is currently focusing its platform on the development and manufacturing of therapeutic antibodies for the treatment of cancer, inflammation and infectious disease.  For more information, please visit

About Eisai Inc.

At Eisai Inc., human health care is our goal. We give our first thoughts to patients and their families, and helping to increase the benefits health care provides. As the U.S. pharmaceutical subsidiary of Tokyo-based Eisai Co., Ltd., we have a passionate commitment to patient care that is the driving force behind our efforts to help address unmet medical needs. We are a fully integrated pharmaceutical business with discovery, clinical, manufacturing and marketing capabilities. Our key areas of commercial focus include oncology and specialty care (Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy and metabolic disorders). To learn more about Eisai Inc., please visit us at  

Eisai Inc. has affiliates that are part of a global product creation organization that includes R&D facilities in Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, as well as a global demand chain organization that includes manufacturing facilities in Maryland and North Carolina. Eisai's global areas of R&D focus include neuroscience; oncology; metabolic disorders; vascular, inflammatory and immunological reaction; and antibody-based programs.


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SOURCE Morphotek, Inc.

Type Press Release

Date Released October 26, 2015

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