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MorphoSys sells right to cancer drug for $750M upfront

Germany's MorphoSys AG sold the rights to its cancer therapy tafasitamab to Incyte Corp. for an upfront payment of $750 million.

Incyte will have the exclusive commercialization rights to the medicine around the globe, except in the U.S., where the rights will be held by both pharmaceutical companies. Wilmington, Del.-based Incyte will make a separate $150 million investment in MorphoSys under the agreement, and said it will pay up to a further $1.1 billion if the medicine meets certain developmental, regulatory and commercial milestones.

MorphoSys will lead the commercialization strategy and book all revenues from the sales of tafasitamab in the U.S., but share half of the profits — or losses — from the country with Incyte. Tafasitamab is under review in the U.S. as a treatment for blood cancer, with a U.S. Food and Drug Administration decision expected later this year.

Outside the U.S., Incyte will book all revenues from the sales of tafasitamab and pay MorphoSys royalties on such sales. The companies plan to file for EU approval of the drug in mid-2020, and Incyte has plans to pursue development in additional territories include China and Japan.

Tafasitamab is being touted as a treatment for diffuse large B cell lymphoma — a type of blood cancer — in patients who stop responding to other therapies or whose cancer returned. Both parties will also study the medicine in other cancer types, such as follicular lymphoma, marginal zone lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

The agreement between MorphoSys and Incyte, including the equity investment, is subject to clearance by U.S., German and Austrian authorities and will become effective as soon as these conditions have been met.