Boehringer Ingelheim has entered into an antibody deal with fellow German firm MorphoSys and signed a diabetes technology pact with the USA's Depomed.

First up, the MorphoSys agreement covers the process development and manufacturing of additional clinical material for the latter's MOR208, a monoclonal anti-CD19 antibody for the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and potentially other B-cell malignancies. It is currently being evaluated in a Phase I trial in the USA by MorphoSys's partner Xencor.

Simon Sturge, head of the biopharmaceuticals division at Boehringer, said the combination of MorphoSys' successful track record in the discovery and clinical side of antibody-based therapeutics "and our proven competence in technical development and manufacturing will be an optimal fit".

Meantime, Boehringer has bagged worldwide rights to Depomed's Acuform gastric retentive drug delivery technology to develop certain fixed-dose combination products which include extended-release metformin and Boehringer compounds in development for type 2 diabetes.

Under the terms of the agreement, Boehringer is paying a $12.5 million license fee, $10 million upfront, with an additional $2.5 million payable upon delivery of experimental batches of prototype formulations. Depomed is also eligible to receive additional milestone payments and royalties.

The privately-owned firm has also been granted a "right of reference" to Depomed's New Drug Appliction for Glumetza (extended-release metformin) and associated data for use in potential regulatory submission processes.

In January, Boehringer signed a multi-million dollar diabetes pact with Eli Lilly, based in part on two of its investigational drugs - linagliptin, a once-daily dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitor which is currently under regulatory review in the USA, Europe and Japan, and BI10773, a sodium-dependent glucose co-transporter-2 inhibitor, which began enrollment in Phase III  trials last year. That deal also includes two of Lilly's basal insulin analogue candidates.