ZICHRON YA'AKOV, Israel - ProChon Biotech Ltd. signed a licensing and collaboration agreement with MorphoSys AG for the latter's proprietary human combinatorial antibody library, HuCAL-Fab.

The joint research program aims at generating and optimizing HuCAL-derived therapeutic antibodies against a ProChon target, a human growth factor receptor associated with certain cancers, as well as various skeletal disorders including achondroplasia, the most common form of human dwarfism.

ProChon, of Rehovot, will be responsible for developing the antibodies into marketable drugs and will pay royalties to Munich, Germany-based MorphoSys on marketed products.

Avner Yayon, ProChon founder and chief scientific officer, said, "The ProChon development strategy focuses on attenuating excessive receptor activity at multiple potential sites, including growth factor receptor binding, gene expression and downstream signal transduction."

The deal increases the number of therapeutic targets in HuCAL partnership programs to 23. - Rachelle H.B. Fishman