Amgen evolve Galapagos collaboration

By Mike Nagle

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Signal transduction

Galapagos will continue to feed Amgen's drug discovery programmes
having expanded the long-standing partnership between the two

BioFocus DPI, the service division of Galapagos will continue to provide biology, computational and medicinal chemistry services and will supply biologically-directed library compounds to Amgen's research and development programmes.

Historically, Galapagos has provided these services to help Amgen identify drug candidates against multiple ion channel targets. These are therapeutically important in a wide range of diseases including cardiovascular and neurological disorders.

Now, the agreement has been extended to include all classes of targets, including ion channel, G-protein coupled receptors (GPCR) and kinases. GPCRs are the largest known class of drug targets with proven therapeutic benefits; drugs that interact with GPCRs make up nearly 40 per cent of the top 50 selling drugs worldwide.

BioFocus DPI will also provide Amgen with their compound library comprising of synthetic small molecules and natural product compounds.

Onno van de Stolpe, CEO of Galapagos told the expansion of the deal is exciting as it utilises BioFocus DPI's new compound libraries, adding drug discovery capabilities to the partnership.

"The additional breath and depth gained by BioFocus DPI's drug discovery offering this year have helped us to expand our strong collaborative relationship with Amgen,"​ said van de Stolpe.

"We are excited that the potential hits arising from BioFocus DPI's unique library collections could provide promising lead candidates for Amgen's discovery programmes over the next two years."

GPCRs are responsible for responding to signals outside the cell and translating this into biological processes inside the cell.

Kinases are related to GPCRs as the receptors can become desensitised to their ligands or downregulated over time. This happens because some kinases can be activated by a GPCR, which, in a feedback mechanism, then adds a phosphate group to the receptor causing the receptor to stop working. The longer a receptor is active, the more kinases are activated and the more GPCRs are desensitised.

Initiated at the start of 2003 and set to run for 3 years, the collaboration was first expanded at the end of 2005 for a year with Amgen paying an upfront fee of $2.3m (€1.8m). Milestone payments of up to $30m (€23m) per programme remain in place from the original deal.

This new two-year deal also includes a similar $2.4m initial payment for 2007 research costs and an undisclosed payment for 2008 costs, although Mr van de Stolpe did say it would remain a similar amount.

The expanded deal with Amgen comes after a busy year for Galapagos during which they made three acquisitions at a total cost of up to €50m: ProSkelia - a French subsidiary of ProStrakan, Inpharmatica and the drug discovery service operations of Discovery Partners International (DPI). The latter two were incorporated into BioFocus.

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