Galapagos gets €3.5 mn milestones in osteoarthritis alliance with Servier

Galapagos NV and Servier, a private research based pharmaceutical company,  have announced the achievemen milestones under their alliance agreement in osteoarthritis. These milestones trigger payments to Galapagos totalling €3.5 million, which will contribute to the company’s 2011 financial results. In July 2010, Servier and Galapagos announced their alliance to develop new medicines for the treatment of osteoarthritis (OA). Galapagos is responsible for the discovery and development of new candidate drugs, and Servier has an exclusive option to license these after the completion of phase I clinical trials.

“We are pleased that the molecules derived under the OA alliance have met the agreed criteria,” said Onno van de Stolpe, CEO of Galapagos. “This achievement brings us closer to delivering a pre-clinical candidate.”

“This is in line with Servier’s commitment to develop disease-modifying drugs for sufferers of uncured diseases, such as OA, a debilitating disease that affects 12 per cent of the world population, leading to severe and costly handicaps,” said Bernard Marchand, Head of Discovery Research at Servier.

The alliance between Servier and Galapagos builds on novel osteoarthritis drug targets discovered by Galapagos through its proprietary platform. For any marketed products, Servier will have the rights to development, registration and commercialization, but Galapagos retains exclusive US commercialization rights. Galapagos is also eligible to receive discovery, development, regulatory and other milestone payments that could reach €290 million, plus royalties upon commercialization of products outside the US covered under the agreement.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis, typically affecting people aged 45 and older. It is a degenerative disease characterized by joint destruction and loss of cartilage. No currently available treatments prevent OA or even reverse or block the disease process. Treatment of OA involves weight control, exercise, and pain relief, most frequently with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that relieve the symptoms without changing the course of the underlying disease. Many OA patients have pain that persists despite these measures and often then have to undergo costly surgical procedures to replace their damaged joints. It is expected that with the aging of the population, more individuals will be prone to develop OA. As mobility of seniors is of high importance to maintaining a high quality of life, preventing the severity of OA is seen as an immense clinical need over the next decade.

Servier is a privately-run research based pharmaceutical company and dedicated to Research & Development in cardiovascular, metabolic, neurological, psychiatric and bone and joint diseases as well as oncology.

Galapagos is a mid-size biotechnology company specialized in the discovery and development of small molecule and antibody therapies with novel modes-of-action.