MorphoSys’ chief scientist hits the exit, triggering R&D reorganization as they shift focus to US in anticipation of looming FDA approval
Just a few days after opening up its new US headquarters on Boston harbor in prep for what they believe is the imminent approval of a new CAR-T rival, MorphoSys says that its top scientist is stepping down and they’re reorganizing R&D under development chief Malte Peters.
We don’t know the details about what’s up, aside from the fact that they said in an announcement that 17-year company veteran Markus Enzelberger is leaving his job as chief scientific officer to explore new opportunities. And with his departure, they will be “integrating” research into the development operation.
This is the latest in a pair of high-profile changeups in the executive crew at MorphoSys this year. CEO Simon Moroney announced he would step aside near the beginning of the year. He was replaced by Jean-Paul Kress, the former CEO at Boston-based Syntimmune, which was bought out by Alexion.
The German biotech has been beefing up its US commercial team in preparation for the likely approval of their CD19-targeting antibody tafasitamab — or MOR208. Combined with lenalidomide they believe they can offer a more appealing alternative to Kymriah and Yescarta — the first 2 CAR-Ts, after a trial showed that patients suffering from treatment-resistant DLBCL, a common form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, produced a median on progression-free survival rate 12.1 months with a median duration of response at 21.7 months. The overall response rate among 80 patients was 60% with a 43% complete response rate.
They’ve been discussing a mid-2020 market launch in the US.