The project will focus on developing innovative therapeutics to promote nerve regeneration and to diminish the effect of neural scarring, one of the main causes for the failure of the traumatically injured spinal cord and peripheral nerve to regenerate. According to the terms of the collaboration, Galadeno, Galapagos’ partnering division, will provide access to its functional genomics platform on a fee-for-service basis. Access to this technology will enable the partners to discover protein targets involved in regeneration of injured nerve tissue. Once these targets have been identified, AMT will further develop novel technologies based on their gene therapy platform. NIBR will use its expertise in neuroregeneration as well as micro-array technology and the VUA will contribute its state-of-the-art capabilities for analyzing nerve cell growth to further develop the therapeutics.
“Galapagos is pleased to collaborate with these prominent Dutch institutions,” said Onno van de Stolpe, CEO of Galapagos. “The use of our target discovery technology in combination with our nerve cell expertise, gained through our research in Alzheimer’s disease, will be an important contribution to the collaboration.”
“The use of Galapagos’ siRNA vectors in functional assays at this scale will provide us unique insight in the complex genetic network that is at the basis of neuronal outgrowth. It is this type of information that we need to get to effective gene therapy for neurorepair. I look forward to become engaged in this scientific challenge,” said Guus Smit, head of the department of Molecular & Cellular Neurobiology of the VUA.
“I am very excited by the prospect that we will now be able to determine the function of a large set of target genes that are potentially involved in neurorepair,” said Joost Verhaagen, Head of the Laboratory for Neuroregeneration at the Netherlands Institute for Brain research. “The partnership between the NIBR, the VUA and the leading Dutch gene therapy company AMT puts us in a unique position to develop molecular therapies for neurotrauma.”
“Bringing together the expertise necessary to develop a real breakthrough treatment for all those patients suffering from the serious consequences of neurotrauma is a major step forward. The importance of making this effort into a combined academic and biotechnology industrial undertaking is underlined by the Dutch government in granting a major Senter grant to the research partners” according to Prof. Sander van Deventer, Chief Scientific Officer of AMT B.V.
Continuing on the subject of recently signed research collaborations in the field of neurology, Galapagos would further like to announce that the 2.4 million Euro collaboration with the High Q Foundation, as initially announced on 12 August 2005, was formally signed last week. “These two recent agreements demonstrate that Galapagos has a flexible business model, capable of partnerships with patient organizations and government research groups as well as large pharma,” added Galapagos’ Mr. Van de Stolpe.
Galapagos is a publicly traded, genomics-based drug discovery company (Euronext Brussels, GLPG; Euronext Amsterdam, GLPGA) that has successfully discovered and validated novel targets in the bone and joint diseases – osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as in asthma and Alzheimer’s disease. Proprietary targets and compounds resulting from these programs are used for Galapagos’ internal drug discovery programs, combined with selected out-licensing and partnering of projects during development. Galadeno, Galapagos’ partnering unit, provides reagents and functional screens to leading pharmaceutical, biotech and nutraceutical companies for rapid identification and validation of novel drug targets. Galapagos currently employs 78 people, including 23 PhDs, and occupies facilities in Mechelen, Belgium, and Leiden, The Netherlands. Galapagos’ partners include Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Celgene, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, Vertex and Wyeth.
More information about Galapagos and Galadeno can be found at www.glpg.com.
Managing Director, Galadeno
Phone: +31 6 51 51 79 33
About Amsterdam Molecular Therapeutics (AMT)
AMT B.V. is based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Its activities are focused on the development of gene therapies. AMT employs a staff of 32 highly educated people with scientific and industrial experience. AMT aspires to use its scientific know-how and expertise in the area of gene therapy in order to successfully develop and produce innovative treatments for patients with serious (inherited), metabolic, eye or central nervous disorders. Its R&D platform is focused on the liver, brain, eye and peripheral nervous system. AMT’s lead product, AAV1-LPLS447X , will enter its pivotal clinical trial by October 2005 in patients suffering from lipoprotein lipase (LPL) type 1 deficiency. AMT’s expertise in viral vector generation, scale-up of production processes and manufacturing of clinical grade products allows the company also to offer contract manufacturing services to other companies and academic institutes.
More information on AMT can be found on its web site: www.amtbv.com.
Prof. Sander van Deventer
Phone: +31 20 5667394
About the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
The research of the department of Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology of the Vrije Universiteit has strong focus on genomics and proteomics approaches aimed at understanding neuronal outgrowth, synapse formation and plasticity of synapses. Repair of neuronal connectivity after trauma has been studied in a long-term collaboration with Joost Verhaagen, of the Laboratory for Neuroregeneration at the Netherlands Institute for Brain research. Specific information on our research activities can be found at the MCN Web site: http://www.cncr.nl/mcn.
Prof. Dr. A.B. Smit
Management Assistant: Ms. Brigitte Borgman
Phone: +31 20 5987116
About the Laboratory for Neuroregeneration, Netherlands Institute for Brain Research
This research group is located in the Netherlands Institute for Brain Research, a research institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences. Research is dedicated to the development of molecular approaches to repair the injured nervous system (in short: “molecular neurosurgery”). This multidisciplinary research team consists of molecular biologists, medical biologists, physicians, biotechnicians and bioinformaticians and collaborates closely with the VUA and AMT. These scientist combine a unique ensemble of know how required to tackle the clinically challenging problem of nerve repair.
Prof. dr. Joost Verhaagen
Phone: +31 20 5665500