MorphoSys, a German pharmaceutical firm with an office in Raleigh, and Novartis, which is building a vaccine plant in Holly Springs, have struck a drug development deal that the firms say is in excess of $600 million and worth perhaps $1 billion or more.

MorphoSys will work with Novartis on therapeutic antibodies for use against a variety of diseases.

As part of the deal, MorphoSys said it will focus more on drug discovery and development rather than fee-for-service discovery deals.

The agreement covers 10 years. The companies have worked together in the past.

MorphoSys will receive payments for access to its proprietary development technology as well as research and development funding, milestones and drug market approval.

“This alliance heralds a new chapter in our corporate development as it offers us the perfect construct to increase significantly the value of our proprietary drug development pipeline while simultaneously maximizing our financial interest in partnered programs," said Simon Moroney, chief executive officer of MorphoSys AG. "The first antibody from our collaboration with Novartis entered the clinic three years after signature.”