Galapagos scores first oncology contract

By Kirsty Barnes

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Biofocus dpi Rheumatoid arthritis Galapagos

Galapagos' services arm has scored another lucrative contract from
big pharma - its first in the field of oncology - as it continues
to broaden its experience.

The firm's BioFocus DPI division will undertake a new two-year target discovery project on behalf of Janssen Pharmaceutica, receiving an upfront payment of €2.9m with the possibility of reaping in additional research, acceptance, license and development fees of up to €7.6m should it meet certain criteria. Specifically, BioFocus DPI will perform assay development, screening of the SilenceSelect and FlexSelect adenoviral libraries, and target validation. "This marks BioFocus DPI's first target discovery agreement in oncology, as well as the largest target discovery agreement to date for the service division,"​ said Onno van de Stolpe, CEO of Galapagos. Only a few weeks ago Galapagos announced its first foray beyond its core area of expertise - bone and joint diseases - after forging a new development partnership with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a deal worth up to €218m for the Belgian biotech. The two firms are already working together in an ongoing osteoarthritis alliance, but under this latest collaboration the two firms will work on the discovery and development of novel anti-infective medicines, using BioFocus DPI's natural product compound collection and chemistry capabilities. "It shows that Galapagos can generate significant business in new therapeutic areas,"​ van de Stolpe said at the time. Meanwhile, in October Galapagos penned "by far"​ its biggest ever deal, with Johnson & Johnson (J&J) committing an estimated €1bn to a joint arthritis research programme. The two-part deal has quite a complicated structure and incorporates both an alliance part and a part concerning Galapagos' own internal R&D programmes to develop rheumatoid arthritis (RA) drugs. The bottom line though, as van de Stolpe told at the time, is that the company estimates it will receive a total of €1bn for around five or six first-in-class drugs. The deal dwarfed the alliance that Galapagos expanded with GSK around the same time - worth around €180m - although as Van de Stolpe pointed out, that deal was concerned with much earlier stage research.

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