Mechelen, Belgium; 3 February 2014 – Galapagos NV (Euronext: GLPG) announced today that it has been awarded a €2.3 million grant for research in fibrosis from the Flemish agency for Innovation by Science and Technology (IWT). The goal of this 2-year project is to create a new research platform by integrating knowledge from a range of fibrotic diseases, including lung, kidney, liver, and skin fibrosis. This new platform will support Galapagos’ efforts to develop novel drug candidates in fibrosis.
Galapagos has a fully proprietary portfolio of fibrosis drug targets and molecules. The major aim of this IWT grant is to deliver a comprehensive fibrosis research platform, building on existing tools and considerable expertise within Galapagos and a number of academic laboratories. By integrating data obtained from pre-clinical and clinical research in several fibrotic diseases with similar root causes, Galapagos aims to create a unique fibrosis research environment, allowing for better selection of targets and molecules for the design of novel treatments in this area. Academic partners for the project include Prof Dr Wuyts (Pneumology, KU Leuven), Prof Dr Naesens and Prof Dr Kuypers (Nephrology, KU Leuven), Prof Dr Van Vlierberghe (Hepatology, U Ghent), Prof Dr F. De Keyser and Dr Smith (Scleroderma, U Gent) and Prof van Grunsven (Hepatology, VU Brussels).
“Galapagos is very pleased with this financial support from the IWT for our research in fibrosis, an area with very high unmet patient need and one in which Galapagos already has performed ground-breaking work,” said Dr Piet Wigerinck, Chief Scientific Officer of Galapagos.
Fibrosis is characterized by the development of excess connective tissue, leading to diminished organ function and potentially death. Fibrosis can affect various organs and tissues including kidney, lung, liver, heart, bone marrow, and skin. Fibrosis accounts for an estimated 45% of deaths in the Western world[i], and the therapeutic options available for patients remain very limited.
The agency for Innovation by Science and Technology (abbreviated as IWT) is the government agency founded in 1991 by the Flemish Government to support technological innovation projects in Flanders. Each year IWT distributes about €300 million in subsidies for innovation projects to companies, organizations, research and educational institutions in Flanders. In addition to financial support, IWT also assists companies by, for instance helping them find the right information or the right partners at home or abroad, providing assistance with the preparation of projects for European programmes and with technology transfer throughout Europe. IWT also has an important coordination mandate aimed at promoting close cooperation among all the actors involved in technological innovation in Flanders. For more information, please visit http://www.iwt.be or call +32 2 432 42 00.
Galapagos (Euronext: GLPG; OTC: GLPYY) is specialized in novel modes-of-action, with a large pipeline comprising of six Phase 2 studies (three led by GSK), one Phase 1 study, six pre-clinical, and 20 discovery small-molecule and antibody programs in cystic fibrosis, inflammation, antibiotics, metabolic disease, and other indications.
AbbVie and Galapagos signed an agreement in CF where they work collaboratively to develop and commercialize oral drugs that address two mutations in the CFTR gene, the G551D and F508del mutation. Potentiator GLPG1837 is at the pre-clinical candidate stage. In the field of inflammation, AbbVie and Galapagos signed a worldwide license agreement whereby AbbVie will be responsible for further development and commercialization of GLPG0634 after Phase 2B. GLPG0634 is an orally-available, selective inhibitor of JAK1 for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and potentially other inflammatory diseases, currently in Phase 2B studies in RA and in Phase 2 in Crohn’s disease. Galapagos has another selective JAK1 inhibitor in Phase 2 in ulcerative colitis, psoriasis, and lupus, GSK2586184 (formerly GLPG0778, in-licensed by GlaxoSmithKline in 2012). GLPG0974 is the first inhibitor of FFA2 to be evaluated clinically for the treatment of IBD; this program is currently in a Proof-of-Concept Phase 2 study. GLPG1205 is a first-in-class molecule that targets inflammatory disorders and has completed Phase 1 studies.
The Galapagos Group, including fee-for-service companies BioFocus, Argenta and Fidelta, has around 800 employees and operates facilities in five countries, with global headquarters in Mechelen, Belgium. Further information at: www.glpg.com
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[i] Friedman et al, 2013