Biopharmaceutical Morphotek, a subsidiary of Eisai, has announced that the Sarah Cannon Research Institute in Nashville, Tenn., has opened enrollment in a phase I clinical study with MORAb-066 in patients with advanced or metastatic breast, pancreatic, colorectal or non-small cell lung cancer (adenocarcinoma) malignancies. The open-label, phase I study will assess the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of MORAb-066 administered with weekly intravenous infusions.
MORAb-066 is a humanized monoclonal antibody that targets tissue factor (TF), a protein whose role under normal conditions is to support blood coagulation. In cancer, it has been shown that TF is a membrane-bound antigen expressed by tumor endothelial cells that is hypothesized to play a role in promoting tumor angiogenesis and growth. Morphotek obtained exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize this antibody from Janssen Biotech.
"New agents are needed for cancer treatment and our strategy of using collaborations with leading research institutions provides us opportunities to develop novel medicines that target disease-specific pathways," said Nicholas Nicolaides, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of Morphotek.