Morphotek Announces Collaboration Agreement With University of Gothenburg To Develop Farletuzumab, An Investigational Anti-Folate Receptor Alpha Monoclonal Antibody, For Alpha-Particle Radioimmunotherapy In Ovarian Cancer

EXTON, Pa., Nov. 17, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Morphotek®, Inc., a subsidiary of Eisai Inc., announced today that it entered into an agreement with the Targeted Alpha Therapy Group (TAT Group) at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden to collaborate on the research and development of farletuzumab as an alpha therapy vector being studied for radioimmunotherapy in ovarian cancer.

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Farletuzumab is an investigational humanized monoclonal antibody (mAb) that binds to folate receptor alpha, a protein which is highly expressed in ovarian carcinoma but largely absent from normal tissue. In radioimmunotherapy, mAbs are attached to radioisotopes that may potentially deliver highly cytotoxic radiation in a targeted and more direct way to relevant cancer cells.  The use of alpha emitters, in contrast to beta emitters, may potentially allow for the killing of only targeted cells binding with the vector due to the short alpha particle track. This collaboration will initially investigate the use of farletuzumab as an alpha therapy vector in preclinical laboratory studies, followed by the overall objective, which is to investigate in clinical trials the safety and efficacy of alpha-radiolabeled farletuzumab in women who enter remission upon completion of first-line treatment.

"We are excited to enter this collaboration with the TAT Group in this innovative field of radioimmunotherapy research," stated Charles Schweizer, PhD, Vice President of Clinical Operations at Morphotek. "We continue our commitment to explore product development strategies that may potentially generate clinically meaningful improvements over current treatment options for ovarian cancer patients. This alpha-radiolabeled version of farletuzumab complements our current strategy of treating patients with relapsed, platinum-sensitive ovarian cancer with low CA125."

Farletuzumab is currently being tested in 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.

The TAT Group's research activities will be coordinated by various departments at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, under the direction of Group Head, Associate Professor Per Albertsson MD, PhD, oncologist at Sahlgrenska University Hospital.

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.

About TAT Group

The Targeted Alpha Therapy Group ( is a collaborative group of interdisciplinary researchers (oncologists, radiation physicists, nuclear chemists, biologists) centered at the University of Gothenburg, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, focused on development strategies for the treatment of disseminated cancer using alpha-particle emitters.  The group has close collaborations on radionuclide chemistry and production with Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, the PET and Cyclotron Unit at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, Denmark and the Institute for Transuranium Elements in Karlsruhe, Germany.  Radiobiological and small scale dosimetry collaborations include researchers at Division of Radiation Research, New Jersey Medical School, Newark, and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.  The research areas covered by the Targeted Alpha Therapy Group include studies of the chemistry related to the labeling of radionuclides to different ligands, studies of pharmacokinetics and different aspects of radiation physics such as dosimetry, preclinical and clinical studies in which the developed treatment strategies are evaluated.



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SOURCE Morphotek, Inc.

Type Press Release

Date Released November 17, 2015

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