Incyte picks up full Monjuvi rights from partner MorphoSys for $25M

Shortly before Novartis revealed a $2.9 billion buyout of cancer drugmaker MorphoSys, Incyte secured its own piece of the pie. For $25 million, Incyte gained additional rights to MorphoSys' lone commercial product.

Incyte, which was reportedly vying for a MorphoSys acquisition, now has full global rights to the FDA-approved anti-CD19 antibody Monjuvi. Previously, the two companies shared costs for clinical development and commercialization in the U.S., while Incyte had exclusive rights outside of the U.S.

With the new deal, which is effective immediately, MorphoSys will no longer record royalties or milestone payments on the drug.

Monjuvi carries an accelerated approved in the U.S. as a treatment for certain patients with relapsed or refractory diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) when used alongside Bristol Myers Squibb’s Revlimid. The med is being tested in first-line DLBCL, plus other forms of relapsed or refractory lymphoma, including follicular lymphoma and marginal zone lymphoma, Incyte noted.

The updated agreement allows Incyte “to realize significant operating efficiencies and cost synergies," CEO Hervé Hoppenot said in a release.

Besides the $25 million payment, Incyte will need to shell out extra R&D money to take the drug through its planned lymphoma studies, which are needed to drive growth, analysts at William Blair wrote in a note to clients. 

Incyte previously secured partial Monjuvi rights with a $750 million upfront payment in the months before the drug's 2020 approval. Despite launching in the volatile pandemic period, the companies had high expectations for the drug. MorphoSys forecasted 2021 sales of €150 million ($161 million) to €200 million ($214 million) but instead saw $79.1 million for the year. In 2022, sales of $89 million missed expectations of $110 million to $135 million.

Just recently, MorphoSys reported U.S. Monjuvi sales of $92 million in 2023 and projected 2024 sales of between $80 million and $95 million. MorphoSys and Incyte originally predicted peak U.S. sales of €500 million to €700 million for the drug's current indication alone.

Just after the Incyte news broke on Monday, Novartis said it was buying MorphoSys clinical assets in a buyout worth $2.9 billion.