Galapagos to build fibrosis pipeline via extended Fibrocor partnership

In a move that could refill its fibrosis pipeline, Galapagos expanded its year-old collaboration with Fibrocor, adding options to exclusively license four fibrosis programs.

Under the original deal, announced December 2018, Toronto-based Fibrocor Therapeutics L.P granted Galapagos N.V. (Euronext:GLPG; NASDAQ:GLPG) rights to a small molecule that was in lead optimization against a novel, undisclosed target for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and other fibrotic indications.

At the time, the European biotech had been looking to expand its IPF and fibrosis portfolio following an October 2018 restructuring of a fibrotic disease deal with AbbVie Inc. (NYSE:ABBV) that left Galapagos only with rights outside of cystic fibrosis to GLPG2737, a CFTR corrector.

In July, Galapagos granted Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) an option for ex-EU rights to current and future pipeline programs that aren't already partnered upon completing Phase II testing, and ex-EU rights to ENPP2 inhibitor GLPG1690, its lead fibrosis candidate that's in Phase III testing for IPF. Under the deal, Gilead paid $3.95 billion up front and made a $1.1 billion investment in Galapagos (see "How Gilead Deal Positions Galapagos to Become Europe’s Next Big Biotech").

Galapagos' next most advanced IPF therapy, GPR84 inhibitor GLPG1205, is in Phase II.

For fibrosis target discovery, Fibrocor combines a genomics platform that includes RNA sequencing and gene knockout models with a kidney biobank, and conducts longitudinal analyses of freshly frozen or fixed tissue samples from patients.

The expanded deal with Fibrocor gives Galapagos an option for four more fibrosis programs once they reach lead optimization, a stage which two programs have already reached. Galapagos is responsible for all subsequent drug development.

Under both the original and expanded collaboration, Galapagos can gain global commercialization rights in exchange for undisclosed upfront and milestone payments and royalties.

As part of the expansion, Galapagos also gained an undisclosed stake in Fibrocor and nominated Paul Van der Horst, head of business development, as a non-executive Fibrocor board member.

Targets: CFTR - Cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator; ENPP2 (ATX) - Autotaxin; GPR84 - G protein-coupled receptor 84

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