Galapagos bags option on 4 more Fibrocor programs

Galapagos has struck another deal to expand its fibrosis pipeline, picking up an option to license four Fibrocor programs. The deal comes one year after Galapagos landed global rights to an early-stage idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) treatment in development at Fibrocor.

Through the latest agreement, Galapagos has gained an option to license four more programs, two of which have already been identified. Fibrotic disease specialist Fibrocor will take the programs up to lead optimization, at which point Galapagos will choose whether to license the drugs and take charge of further development. 

Galapagos is making an upfront payment and committing to option fees, milestones and royalties to land the deal. The Belgian biotech is also taking an equity stake in Fibrocor, which has operated since setting up shop in 2017 without disclosing a major financing round.

MaRS Innovation, a Canadian tech transfer company now known as Toronto Innovation Acceleration Partners, founded Fibrocor with German CRO Evotec. The goal was to bring together the research of Richard Gilbert, Darren Yuen and Jeff Wrana, an annotated tissue bank and the drug discovery skills of Evotec to develop therapies that prevent, slow or reverse fibrosis. 

That focus brought Fibrocor to the attention of Galapagos, which over the past year has added fibrosis candidates to a pipeline spearheaded by phase 3 autotaxin inhibitor GLPG1690. In addition to the original deal with Fibrocor, Galapagos picked up a small molecule fibrosis therapy directly from Evotec. Galapagos also has another drug, GLPG1690, in phase 2 in IPF. 

While Galapagos has sold rights to some drugs to companies such as AbbVie and Gilead Sciences, it has kept full control of its fibrosis pipeline. That puts the wholly owned assets at the heart of Galapagos’ plans to establish itself as an independent, midsized European biopharma company rather than succumb to buyout interest.