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Morphotek(R), Inc. Announces Initiation of MORAb-009 Phase II Study in First- Line Treatment of Mesothelioma
Date:3/2/2009

EXTON, Pa., March 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Morphotek(R), Inc., a subsidiary of Eisai Corporation of North America, today announced that it has commenced a multi-centered Phase II study of its MORAb-009 monoclonal antibody in mesothelioma. The study will evaluate MORAb-009, plus the chemotherapy drugs pemetrexed and cisplatinum, as a first-line treatment for patients with mesothelioma.

The primary objective of the study is to assess the efficacy of MORAb-009 as combination therapy with the current standard of care as determined by progression-free survival in patients with locally advanced malignant pleural mesothelioma. Secondary objectives include safety and anti-tumor activity of MORAb-009 as determined by objective response rate. The patient population includes individuals with locally advanced malignant pleural mesothelioma who have not received any prior treatment for their disease. Morphotek expects to enroll up to 86 patients in this clinical study, which is being conducted at clinical centers globally.

"We are excited to have initiated this Phase II study of MORAb-009 in mesothelioma in cooperation with leading physician-scientists," stated Martin D. Phillips, M.D., Chief Medical Officer at Morphotek. "Mesothelioma has a generally poor prognosis, so we hope that MORAb-009 will one day provide a benefit and hope to mesothelioma cancer patients."

MORAb-009 is a monoclonal antibody that blocks the function of mesothelin, a cell surface protein on mesothelioma, pancreatic and a subset of other types of tumor cells that can allow these cells to attach, metastasize and grow. Mesothelin has been demonstrated by several independent studies to be expressed on virtually all mesothelioma tumors. Preclinical data support the theory that MORAb-009 achieves its pharmacological effect by two mechanisms: first, by blocking mesothelin's ability to interact with its target and second, by stimulating the
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SOURCE Morphotek, Inc.
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