MorphoSys AG (NASDAQ:MOR) Q1 2020 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript
May 07, 2020 • 08:00 am ET
[Operator Instructions] And the first question is from Konstantinos Aprilakis, Deutsche Bank. Your line is now open.
Good morning, good afternoon and thank you for taking my questions. I've got one on the impending tafasitamab launch and then another on business development. So you mentioned in your prepared remarks, extensive interactions with key stakeholders in the DLBCL space ahead of tafasitamab's potential launch. Can you tell us what you're hearing from KOLs and the like regarding the demand and utilization for CAR-T cell therapy for DLBCL given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic? And how you see this potentially reading through to tafasitamab demand assuming approval?
Konstantinos, thanks for the question. Yes, we hear actually that the CAR-Ts are a bit of a challenge right now with the COVID context for obvious reasons. So we knew that they were complicated, I would say, to say the least, to administer. And sometimes you get the feedback of the high cost as well. But currently, there is a bit of a struggle with that. So yes. I mean, in some ways, I-Mab, which is convenient to use and administer, makes a lot of sense. That's what we're hearing from this space right now.
Okay. That's helpful. And then on the BD side, regarding your decision to not exercise the option to license the Vivoryon inhibitors, I was wondering if you could provide more detail on the rationale underpinning that decision, including what exactly you saw in the preclinical data that made you change course? And is there anything we should conclude more broadly regarding the MorphoSys BD strategy, especially with respect to early versus later stage additions to your portfolio?
So I'll answer the second part of your question, and I'll let Jens comment on the decision. I mean, this was an early-stage deal. And obviously, we had all the caveats that could that come with these kind of deals. And we conducted preliminary experiences, which led to the conclusion. In terms of our strategy, we're think pretty broad, but we will be very disciplined, and for two reasons. The first one is that now we have the bandwidth for the approaches. We're done with the partnership, which was very, I would say, resource consuming, and I think took a lot of our energy and focus over the last couple of months. That's behind us. And obviously, with this partnership comes resource and these resources now will allow us to have much more flexibility for potential moves. And we are, right now, looking at several possibilities, some of them beyond tafasitamab, some of them complementing tafasitamab. We get a lot of requests from the space for combination trials, and considering that tafasitamab is emerging more and more backbone for many, many new products. So it's actually more opportunities now than it was in the past. Jens, do you want to answer the first part of the question?
Yes. Thank you, Jean-Paul. I mean, we knew that this is a very early program. We still believe