MorphoSys AG has signed Extends License Agreement with  U.S. based biopharmaceutical company OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, Inc. between the two companies and has initiated two therapeutic antibody development programs targeting cancer stem cells.

MorphoSys is a publicly traded biotechnology company focusing on the generation of fully human antibodies as a means to discover and develop innovative antibody-based drugs against life-threatening diseases  under the extended agreement, which now runs until June 2010, MorphoSys continues to grant OncoMed access to its proprietary antibody library HuCAL GOLD for the use in the research and development of human therapeutic antibodies for the treatment of various cancers by targeting cancer stem cells. The extended agreement includes annual user fees to MorphoSys for OncoMed's access to the HuCAL platform. The two-year extension includes an option for OncoMed to develop and commercialize up to 3 additional HuCAL-derived therapeutic antibodies. In all cases MorphoSys stands to receive exclusive license fees, milestone payments, as well as royalties on end products. Further financial details were not disclosed.

Founded in August 2004, OncoMed Pharmaceuticals is discovering and developing monoclonal antibodies and proteins capable of eliminating "cancer stem cells," which are believed to play a key role in the establishment, metastasis and recurrence of cancer. OncoMed is at the forefront of applying research from the University of Michigan to isolate, purify, and analyze cancer stem cells. The company has established a large library of antibodies as well as proteins capable of binding to the cell surface proteins expressed on cancer stem cells and inhibiting cancer stem cell growth. Recently OncoMed has established a strategic alliance to discover, develop and market novel cancer stem cell antibody therapeutics with GlaxoSmithKline.