Galapagos buys into improved drug discovery

By Mike Nagle

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Pharmacology

Galapagos is to spend up to €19.1m to acquire Inpharmatica in order
to accelerate their drug discovery capabilities, especially in the
early stages of development.

Inpharmatica will be integrated into the Dutch biotechnology company's service division, BioFocus DPI. Galapagos will pay an initial €12.5m with a maximum of €6.6m on all share earn-out payments.

The acquisition comes after a troubled year for Inpharmatica which recorded an operating loss last year before closing its internal drug discovery unit in 2006. That move left the UK company with two remaining service units.

The first, Chematica, helps scientists to select drug targets and ensures the drugs themselves have suitable chemical properties from the outset. The other is called Admensa and concentrates on ensuring any drugs developed will have suitable absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion (ADME) properties.

Onno van de Stolpe, CEO at Galapagos told​: "Inpharmatica have two product lines both of which are very complimentary to what BioFocus DPI already has in place."

"Although ADME is implemented within BioFocus DPI's tools, it is to a much lesser extent than in Admensa. Put together, we now have a much more powerful tool."

He added that in general discussions, some pharmaceutical companies requested that Galapagos improve their ADME capabilities.

When Inpharmatica restructured last year, their work force was slashed from 100 to 30. The acquisition will lead to a further reduction to 23 because of the loss of overlapping management, sales and admin staff.

However, van der Stolpe said: "None of the scientists will be made redundant."

Inpharmatica had already agreed to sell their diabetes-focused PPAR-delta programme as part of closing down of discovery unit in 2006. The deal will be officially announced within next 2 months.

The two companies have collaborated in the past. BioFocus DPI performed some target validation for Inpharmatica and in return, they helped prioritise some of BioFocus DPI's targets. This had an impact when Inpharmatica contacted Galapagos about acquiring them.

Mr van der Stolpe said: "The demand from DPI scientists to access Inpharmatica tools and services certainly helped management become enthusiastic about the deal."

Other companies were also interested in purchasing Inpharmatica but Galapagos acted fast. Mr van de Stolpe said: "We were the last to enter discussions but the first with a bid on the table."

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