Mechelen, Belgium; Galapagos NV announced today that it has expanded its global multi-year strategic alliance with Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX:RHHBY) to develop potential new therapies in COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). The partners have increased the number of antibody targets in the alliance. In addition, these targets can now also be used as starting points for molecules consisting of nucleic acids and/or amino acids. As such, the scope of molecules subject to this alliance could potentially include also peptides, siRNA and other nucleic acids.
Galapagos and Roche started their strategic alliance in COPD in January 2010. Galapagos is applying its target discovery platform to discover novel COPD targets and is responsible for the discovery and development of new small molecule candidate drugs against these targets. Roche has an exclusive option to license each small molecule program after either clinical candidate selection or completion of Phase I clinical trials. In addition, Roche has an exclusive option to license the COPD targets for the discovery and development of antibodies against these targets. Upon exercise of each option, Roche will be responsible for the further (pre)clinical development and commercialization. Galapagos received a research access payment of €6 million from Roche upon signature of the alliance. The alliance expansion announced today has the potential to increase the total value of milestone payments Galapagos receives under this agreement by €150 million.
“We’ve made a good start in the alliance with Roche,” said Onno van de Stolpe, CEO of Galapagos. “This is the fourth alliance that has been expanded upon the request of our pharma partners and we are particularly pleased that Roche sees the potential of our target discovery platform to identify new antibody drug targets. This expansion increases the chances of the alliance delivering a therapeutic molecule for the treatment of COPD.”
COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is a chronic lung disease characterized by difficulty breathing and persistent coughing. COPD includes the diseases commonly referred to as chronic bronchitis and emphysema. The primary causes of COPD are tobacco smoke and air pollution, which damage and irritate lung tissue, resulting in a narrowing of the airways.
COPD affects approximately 210 million people worldwide, with more than 5 million people dying of the disease each year. This number is expected to increase by more than 30% in the next ten years, due to an increase in tobacco use worldwide. Although the disease symptoms are manageable through the use of drug and oxygen therapy, there is currently no cure for COPD.
Galapagos (Euronext: GLPG; OTC: GLPYY) is a drug discovery and development company with small molecule programs in bone and joint diseases, bone metastasis, cachexia, anti-infectives and metabolic diseases. It has established risk sharing alliances with GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly, Merck & Co. and Roche. Through an alliance with MorphoSys, Galapagos is also developing new antibody therapies in bone and joint diseases. Together with its BioFocus and Argenta service operations, Galapagos has over 670 employees and operates facilities in six countries, with global headquarters in Mechelen, Belgium. For more information: www.glpg.com
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