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Galapagos expands presence in fibrosis, NASH with Evotec deal

As lead candidate filgotinib nears filing, firm looks to expand horizons

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Fatty liver disease NASH and other fibrosis-related conditions are seen as biopharma’s ‘next big thing’ and Galapagos has just announced a second investment in two months in the field.

The company based in Mechelen, Belgium looks set to break into the big time this year, thanks to its JAK 1 selective inhibitor filgotinib, a new RA treatment co-developed with Gilead which promises to be a blockbuster if it gains approval in 2019/2020 as expected.

Now the firm is looking to expand and build up its own presence in fibrosis, where last month it acquired a candidate in phase 2 and phase 3 trials for fibrosis/IPF.

It has announced an in-licensing deal with drug discovery specialists Evotec, centered on a small molecule currently in its pre-clinical pipeline which could treat fibrotic diseases and NASH.

The Germany-headquartered firm uses its in-house assay development and drug screening capabilities to identify small molecule modulators against the target, which remains undisclosed.

In exchange for global commercialisation rights to Galapagos, Evotec receives an upfront payment and is eligible for potential milestone and royalty payments. Galapagos will be responsible for all further development of the programme. Galapagos will have access to specific screening formats at Evotec to support the final pre-clinical development.

Galapagos acquired its IPF/fibrosis candidate in a deal with Fibrocor Therapeutics, a privately held Canadian company.

Piet

Piet Wigerinck

"Following the Fibrocor deal announced early January, the collaboration with Evotec announced today again underlines our commitment to expanding our fibrosis franchise", said Dr Piet Wigerinck, chief scientific officer of Galapagos. "We highly regard the scientific know-how of Evotec, and are hence very much looking forward to collaborating with the team."

Article by
Andrew McConaghie

7th February 2019

From: Research

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