2017 News

Morphotek and Rockefeller University Form a Sponsored Research Agreement to Study the Immunosuppressive Effects of the Tumor Shed Antigen CA125 and its Potential Impact in Future Patient Therapies

Exton, PA, December 11, 2017 -- Morphotek®, Inc., a subsidiary of Eisai Inc., announced today that it has entered into a Sponsored Research Agreement (SRA) with The Rockefeller University to expand its research efforts around the mechanisms by which the CA125 tumor shed antigen suppresses immune-based therapies.  CA125 is a tumor-produced protein that has been recently found to elicit suppressive effects on humoral-based immune functions by direct binding to subsets of tumor-targeting antibodies, as well as direct binding to immune cells involved in mediating tumor cell killing.

The collaboration will incorporate proprietary cell-based and engineered animal models that can monitor the immunosuppressive effects of CA125 on the cellular and direct antibody-binding mechanisms using optimized assays developed by ongoing research in the laboratory of Dr. Jeffery Ravetch, the Theresa and Eugene M. Lang Professor and Head of the Leonard Wagner Laboratory of Molecular Genetics and Immunology at The Rockefeller University.  The research will focus on expanding the knowledge of how CA125 suppresses humoral immune responses to antibody-mediated therapies via these two mechanisms.

 “We are excited to collaborate with Dr. Ravetch’s group in this emerging field of tumor-mediated, humoral immune suppression,” stated Nicholas Nicolaides, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Morphotek.  “His pioneering efforts of how antibodies engage with Fc receptors on immune cells to elicit immune responses, along with our growing knowledge of the immunosuppressive effects by CA125 may enable us to develop novel therapeutic agents and innovative clinical designs to overcome these mechanisms and aid patients with various cancer types.”

About Morphotek

Morphotek®, Inc., a subsidiary of Eisai Inc., is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on developing novel classes of biological-based products to treat cancer, inflammatory and infectious diseases.  Our mission is to develop novel targeted therapies that attack underlying disease pathways, and in oncology indications, that can overcome the immunosuppressive effects by tumors on immune-mediated experimental therapies.  Our diverse pipeline includes clinical-stage monoclonal antibodies to lead targets folate receptor alpha, mesothelin and endosialin, as well as antibody-drug conjugates and bispecific antibodies to undisclosed targets in preclinical development.  Our mission is supported by proprietary cutting-edge technologies in antibody engineering, manufacturing and screening optimization platforms, along with our expertise in developing diagnostics to support patient selection and therapeutic strategy.  For more information, please visit www.morphotek.com.

About Eisai Inc.

At Eisai Inc., human health care (hhc) is our goal. We give our first thought 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 discover and develop innovative therapies to help address unmet medical needs.

Eisai is a fully integrated pharmaceutical business that operates in two global business groups: oncology and neurology (dementia-related diseases and neurodegenerative diseases). Each group functions as an end-to-end global business with discovery, development, and marketing capabilities. Our U.S. headquarters, commercial and clinical development organizations are located in New Jersey; our discovery labs are in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania; and our global demand chain organization resides in Maryland and North Carolina. To learn more about Eisai Inc., please visit us at www.eisai.com/US and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Morphotek Contacts:

Investor Inquiries
Rod Dausch
Morphotek, Inc.

Media Inquiries
Diana Martens
Morphotek, Inc.

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