Atopic dermatitis

Our AtD program

Atopic dermatitis (AtD), the most severe and common type of eczema, is a chronic relapsing inflammatory skin disease that causes severe itch, dry skin and rashes, predominantly on the face, inner side of the elbows and knees, and on hands and feet. Scratching of the afflicted skin leads to a vicious cycle causing redness, swelling, cracking, scaling of the skin and an increased risk of bacterial infections. Lichenification, thickening of the skin, is characteristic in older children and adults. The National Eczema Association estimates that AtD affects over 30 million Americans or up to 25% of children and 2-3% of adults. Sixty percent of AtD patients are diagnosed in the first year of life, and 90% of patients have a disease onset before age five. Symptoms commonly fade during childhood, however, approximately 10-30% of the patients will suffer from atopic dermatitis for life. A smaller percentage first develop symptoms as adults.

Generic drugs are the approved standard of care, including immunomodulators cyclosporine and mycophenolate mofetil and topical treatments. There are disease-modifying biologics and small molecules currently in development, with dupilimab (IL-4Rα) most recently approved.

MOR106 is a human monoclonal antibody designed to selectively target IL‑17C in clinical development worldwide. IL‑17C is a target discovered by us and has been shown to be distinct from other members of the IL‑17 cytokine family, playing an important and pro-inflammatory role in certain skin disorders. MOR106 potently inhibits the binding of IL‑17C to its receptor and thus inhibits its biological activity.

MOR106 arises from an alliance between us and MorphoSys, in which both companies contribute their core technologies and expertise and equally share costs and benefits.

We evaluated MOR106 in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase 1 trial. MOR106 showed favorable safety and PK results when administered to healthy volunteers in the ongoing trial. In the second portion of the trial with MOR106 in 24 AtD patients, all adverse drug reactions observed were mild-to-moderate and transient in nature and did not lead to clinically relevant safety signals. No serious adverse events and no infusion-related reactions were recorded. Even though the trial was not statistically powered to show differences in efficacy between treatment groups, at the highest dose level of MOR106, in 83% of patients (5 out of 6) an improvement of at least 50% in signs and symptoms of atopic dermatitis measured by the Eczema Area and Severity Index (EASI-50) was recorded at week 4. The onset of activity was rapid and occurred within few weeks and was maintained for over 2 months after the last treatment. Among patients receiving placebo, in 17% of patients (1 out of 6) an EASI-50 improvement was seen at week 4. As reported at AAD 2018, the pooled, mean EASI scores over time versus placebo show a sustained effect for weeks after completion of dosing:

MOR106 Ph1b
EASI, % change from baseline, pooled data, median

MOR106 Ph1b trial (line chart)

We and MorphoSys are preparing for a Phase 2 trial with MOR106, expected to initiate in the first half of 2018.