Novartis in biotech partnership with MorphoSys

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Novartis said it will expand its collaboration with German biotech firm MorphoSys as the two companies enter a 10-year deal valued at $600 million focused on discovery and development of antibody-based biological drugs.

The two companies had reached a prior drug development deal in 2004. The new deal significantly expands the scope of the agreement, the companies said.

Under the new 10-year pact, which may be extended by Novartis for an additional two years, Novartis and MorphoSys will jointly discover and optimize antibodies against a significant number of molecular targets in a wide range of diseases. MorphoSys will also offer increased personnel support for these projects. Novartis will have virtually exclusive access to MorphoSys' human antibody libraries and any future improvements made during the collaboration. MorphoSys will also fully transfer a copy of its antibody libraries and technologies to Novartis research sites.

 Further payments under the deal could exceed $1 billion if certain goals are met.

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