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Merck and Galapagos form partnership

Merck & Co has signed a multi-year global strategic alliance with Belgian drug discovery company Galapagos

Merck & Co has signed a multi-year global strategic alliance with Belgian drug discovery company Galapagos focused on the discovery and pre-clinical development of small-molecule candidate drugs to treat inflammatory diseases.

Under the terms of the agreement, Galapagos will receive an upfront fee of €2.5m. It is also eligible to receive €192m in milestone payments for multiple products based on drug targets, plus potential royalties and sales milestones on any products included in the deal that reach market.

In return, Merck will have the exclusive option to license any compound for clinical development and commercialisation worldwide.

Onno van de Stolpe, CEO of Galapagos said: "This new alliance with Merck in inflammatory diseases, our sixth pharma alliance to date, underscores the quality and versatility of Galapagos' target discovery platform. Galapagos has proven it delivers on its alliance programmes, making us attractive to potential pharma partners seeking to fill their pipelines with medicines based on novel modes of action."

Galapagos, which has no drugs on the market, has forecast €100m in largely partnership-driven revenue this year. Its other major tie-ups are with Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson & Johnson's Janssen Pharmaceutica unit.

Merck's deal with Galapagos is the US drugmaker's second this year, following an agreement signed in January, in which the companies elected to collaborate on the development of therapies for diabetes and obesity. 

21st April 2009

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