MorphoSys, Novartis and Galapagos have announced the premature end of the clinical development program of MOR106 in atopic dermatitis, citing “low probability to meet main goal of study.”

The final decision was based on an interim analysis from the Phase II IGUANA trial, which detected a low probability to meet the primary endpoint of the study early, defined as the percentage change in the eczema area and severity index score. The decision was then made based on a demonstrated lack of efficacy.

MOR106 was jointly discovered by Galapagos and MorphoSys, then in July 2019, Galapagos and MorphoSys entered into an exclusive worldwide development and commercialisation collaboration with Novartis with respect to the investigational drug.

All studies in atopic dermatitis will be ended as a result, including the Phase II studies IGUANA and GECKO, as well as a Phase I bridging study for subcutaneous formulation.

The companies are “obviously disappointed with this result with MOR106 in atopic dermatitis’” explained Dr Piet Wigerinck, chief scientific officer of Galapagos.

“Together with our collaboration partners,” he continued “we will explore the future strategy with MOR106.”

The experimental drug was initially generated using MorphoSys’s Ylanthia antibody platform and is based on a target discovered by Galapagos. IL-17C is a cytokine expressed preferentially in the skin and which has been implicated in dermal inflammation and shown to be distinct from other members of the IL-17 cytokine family. MOR106 is the first publicly known human monoclonal antibody directed against IL-17C in clinical development worldwide.