MorphoSys Drastically Reduces Pre-Clinical Programs, Over One-Sixth of Workforce Dismissed

MorphoSys AG announced Thursday that it will be taking drastic measures to extend its cash runway, including discontinuing pre-clinical programs and reducing its workforce by 17%.

Despite touting its pre-clinical programs as “promising” in the press release, the company admitted it was facing an uphill battle when it comes to raising the necessary capital to advance to the clinic. With the current economic environment being so constricted, securing the necessary funds is no easy feat.

In a dramatic move, 110 employees will be laid off from the Planegg headquarters of the company. This large-scale cut of staff is sure to have a significant impact on the company and its employees.

In a recent press release, CEO Jean-Paul Kress acknowledged the difficult market conditions and underscored the importance of focusing resources on the company’s most advanced clinical programs in oncology. He emphasized the need to ensure that the company’s most promising initiatives are adequately supported in order to maximize the potential for success.

In a move to accelerate its most promising programs to commercialization, MorphoSys has taken drastic steps by cutting its pre-clinical pipeline and staff. As part of this initiative, the company licensed two immunology assets to Human Immunology Biosciences in November, leaving its pipeline completely focused on cancer. With these changes in place, MorphoSys is well-positioned to bring its products to market faster than ever.

Incyte’s targeted cancer drug, Jakafi, is being taken to the next level with the addition of pelabresib, a BET inhibitor, in the Phase III trials for myelofibrosis. This trial will compare the effects of the combination of the two drugs to a placebo combined with ruxolitinib, in hopes of finding a more effective treatment for this rare blood disorder. With these promising results, we could be one step closer to a cure.

MorphoSys has made medical history with their approved drug, Monjuvi, which is now available for treating relapsed/refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. This breakthrough treatment marks a major milestone in the fight against this debilitating disease.

In January, the pharma reported that Monjuvi’s preliminary net sales had missed their initial guidance by a small margin. The drug generated around $89.4 million, a slight drop from the predicted range of $90-110 million.

The company reported a dip in R/R DLBCL treatments in its third-quarter release, attributing it to increased competitive activity as more treatment options enter the market.

The market for R/R DLBCL treatments is becoming increasingly saturated. Karyopharm Therapeutics’ Xpovio is one of the newer second-line regimens available, and it is estimated to bring in $120.4 million in 2022 sales. With such promising results, Xpovio is staking its claim as a viable treatment option for patients.

Roche’s Polivy is proving to be a formidable competitor to Monjuvi, recently approved in a combination as a first-line treatment in the EU for DLBCL. The drug has seen an impressive 85% increase in sales from the previous year, reaching $437 million in 2022. It looks set to be a major player in the DLBCL market for the foreseeable future.

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