Galapagos continues fibrosis pipeline build-out with Evotec deal

Galapagos is paying an upfront fee and committing to milestones and royalties to secure global rights to the drug. (Galapagos)

Galapagos has secured the global rights to a preclinical fibrotic disease program from Evotec. The small molecule will slot into the growing fibrosis pipeline Galapagos is building through internal R&D and deals.

Belgium-based Galapagos indicated its interest in striking deals to bolster its fibrosis pipeline last month when it struck a deal to collaborate on a novel idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) target with Fibrocor Therapeutics. Fibrocor worked with CRO Evotec to generate the data package that attracted the interest of Galapagos.

For its latest deal, Galapagos has gone direct to Evotec, which discovers drugs as well as working on assets owned by other companies. Evotec’s in-house activities have yielded a small molecule fibrosis drug that Galapagos sees as a good fit for its pipeline.

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Galapagos is paying an upfront fee and committing to milestones and royalties to secure global rights to the drug. The Belgian biotech will assume responsibility for taking the drug forward, with Evotec providing access to specific screening formats to support the final steps in preclinical development.

Neither company has shared details of the financial package or the drug itself, beyond a comment about Evotec and Galapagos sharing a “focus on novel, first-in-class therapeutic candidates.” Details of the drug and its target should emerge as Galapagos wraps up the preclinical program and moves the candidate into human testing.

If the drug makes it that far, it will add another strand to Galapagos’ fibrosis pipeline. Galapagos recently began two phase 3 trials of oral, once daily autotaxin inhibitor GLPG1690 in IPF. And is moving a second IPF prospect, GPR84 inhibitor GLPG1205, through a midphase trial in the disease.

Galapagos owns the full rights to GLPG1690 and GLPG1205, making the drugs important parts of its efforts to develop into a sustainable, independent mid-sized biotech. The company’s efforts to set itself up for long-term independence have taken place against a backdrop of chatter about a possible buyout from one of its bigger partners, most recently Gilead.

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