MorphoSys has acquired fellow German company Sloning BioTechnology, which specialises in developing new methods of synthetic biology.

Under the terms of the deal, the shareholders at privately-owned Sloning will receive a one-off cash payment of 19 million euros. MorphoSys says the latter's state-of-the-art Slonomics technology "dramatically improves the assembly and quality of protein libraries" and by integrating these platforms, it expects to "improve the generation of drug candidates such that one in every two projects started reaches clinical development".

Simon Moroney, MorphoSys chief executive, said that the acquisition "secures our position at the forefront of antibody technology", saying that Slonomics "is the most powerful method available for assembling protein libraries and has been proven to deliver superior products for a range of applications". He stated that "we plan to use it to generate optimised antibodies much faster than can be done today and also to gain access to antibodies that simply can't be made with current technologies".

Marlies Sproll, chief scientific officer of MorphoSys, added that the firm expects to shorten the time needed to generate an antibody drug candidate by a third "and even more importantly, to increase the proportion of programmes reaching clinical development to 50%".