J&J punts a pair of new IBD drugs discovered at Galapagos

A few weeks ago Belgium's Galapagos touted some early-stage data on GLPG1205, a new drug for inflammatory bowel diseases which it discovered under a $1 billion-plus partnership deal inked with Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) back in 2007. But whatever it had learned about the therapy, the first to target GPR84, wasn't good enough to keep the pharma giant's interest. J&J today bowed out of the pact for the entire GPR84 program, an effort that includes GLPG1205 and its backup compound GLPG2196.

Galapagos, which has a number of Big Pharma partnerships in place, didn't have much to add about J&J's exit. But it affirmed earlier remarks highlighting its preclinical success with the GPR84 program and vowed to push ahead into Phase II recruitment for ulcerative colitis, beginning this month.

"GLPG1205 was shown to be safe and well tolerated in healthy volunteers up to 100 mg daily," the biotech reported last October. "The drug shows a favorable PK/PD profile, clearly demonstrating the ability of the compound to engage GPR84. Once-daily dosing of GLPG1205 resulted in sustained an extensive full 24-hour inhibition of GPR84 ligand binding."

Seven years ago the primary focus of the anti-inflammatory work was on rheumatoid arthritis.

Galapagos collected €15 million upfront from the deal in 2007, which covered up to 12 programs that could be produced off of its platform. The original idea was for Galapagos to do the R&D work through the Phase IIa proof-of-concept stage, giving J&J the right to pick up the rights to each drug for up to €73 million in option fees and milestones. The GPR84 program didn't make the cut.

- here's the release