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Galapagos acquires GSK RA compound rights

Belgium's Galapagos has acquired the full rights to an investigational arthritis compound from GSK and is commencing a phase I clinical trial

Belgium's Galapagos has acquired the full rights to an investigational arthritis compound from partner GSK and is commencing a phase I clinical trial. The primary endpoints of this first-in-human trial will be to determine the safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) profile of the candidate drug GLPG0634. The double blind, placebo-controlled single and multiple ascending dose study will be conducted in at least 40 healthy human volunteers in Belgium over the coming months. Galapagos plans to begin dosing in healthy volunteers today August 9, 2010.

Galapagos is one of the world's largest drug discovery service organisations, having acquired Argenta's service operations and BioFocus in February 2010. With 670 employees, the company has an estimated €70m annual turnover.

The compound GLPG0634, is a small molecule drug which was previously part of the biotech's arthritis alliance with GSK. The oral drug is selective against Janus kinase (JAK) 1 and 2 targets and has successfully completed pre-clinical development.

Galapagos chief executive, Onno van de Stolpe said: "JAK inhibitors have shown great efficacy in rheumatoid arthritis trials recently." He added that GLPG0634 has "a competitive therapeutic profile and we believe that this is an attractive compound to take into development."

No financial details of the re-acquisition of rights have been disclosed and Galapagos noted that it "aims to maximise the value of GLPG0634 before seeking a partner for development".

The Mechelen-based group also noted that for the six months of the year, revenues rose 27 per cent to €49.9m, while its net loss increased to €10.5m, compared to a loss of €7.3m for the year-earlier period. Mr van de Stolpe said the timing of "certain expected milestones impacted our interim financial results" and the second half will be better.

Galapagos says that it expects full-year revenues to reach €135m "with positive operating income and cash flow, and a positive net result".

9th August 2010

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