Under the multi-year collaboration, GeneFrontier are to act as consultants, assisting MorphoSys to establish and maintain contact with Japanese Pharma and biotech companies, supporting negotiations with Japanese companies through to deal closure.
MorphoSys' move could be seen strategically as capitalising on worldwide market trends that has seen the biomedical research industry shift rapidly from the genome to proteome-based projects. This has been identified as the key to transforming genetic information into pharmaceutical products.
The increase in these projects is driving an increasing demand for novel research antibodies to study these newly characterized proteins. The strength of the Asian pharmaceutical market, specifically in the synthetic antibody sector, has potential to position the HuCAL technology as the system of choice for future therapeutic antibody projects conducted by pharmaceutical companies in Japan.
Makoto Ogasawara, chief executive officer of GeneFrontier Corp said: "Both partners see an enormous market potential especially in the light of strong financial commitment from the Japanese government to protein research and its therapeutic applications."
While the agreement covers Japan exclusively, MorphoSys said that it does have plans to expand geographically.
A spokesman for MorphoSys told DrugResearcher.com: "The decision in which areas we try to expand our business is mainly driven by the need for innovative research and therapeutic antibodies in other companies in the far east."
Japan is estimated to be 15 per cent of the world's Life Science research market which is about €800m. Particularly for proteomics research, estimates have put Japan with a higher share of the world market.
In 2003 MorphoSys made approx. 80 per cent of its revenues in the US and 20 per cent in Europe. The research antibodies created by MorphoSys' Antibodies by Design unit will be its first revenues in Japan.