In June, Galapagos (www.glpg.com) acquired the drug discovery services operations of Discovery Partners International (DPI; www.discoverypartners.com) in a deal that, Galapagos maintains, has made it one of top-five drug discovery services companies worldwide.
The E4.25-million cash acquisition includes the assets of all four DPI drug discovery services sites in San Diego and S. San Francisco, Allschwill, Switzerland, and Heidelberg, Germany, along with a DPI sales office in Tokyo. Galapagos is keeping all current DPI sites fully operational and is merging them into its BioFocus drug discovery services division, which will take over scientific management of the DPI sites and their current service contracts. As a result of the integration, BioFocus is changing its name to BioFocus DPI (www.biofocus.com).
The acquisition comes just days after Galapagos announced a major drug discovery and development alliance in osteoarthritis with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK; www.gsk.com). Through the collaboration, Galapagos will develop new drug compounds against GSK's portfolio of validated osteoarthritis targets, up to the Phase IIa trials stage.
GSK then has the exclusive option to further develop and commercialize compounds on a worldwide basis. The deal includes a E4-million upfront payment and could bring Galapagos a potential E3-million equity investment and up to E130 million in success-based milestones for two marketable products. A substantial part of the development program will be contracted by Galapagos to its BioFocus DPI division.
Ten months after its acquisition in October 2005 by Galapagos, BioFocus has signed over 10 new target and drug discovery agreements, including deals with Serono, Idenix, Amgen, Boehringer Ingelheim, BASF, and Roche.
Most recently, BioFocus DPI signed a collaboration with Indus Biosciences(www.indusbio.com) and ProCitius (www.pocitius.com), both based in India, to boost its medicinal-chemistry capabilities even further.
Through the new deals, the Indian companies will carry out chemistry services for BioFocus DPI. The outsourcing agreements complement the acquisition of DPI's drug discovery operations, providing additional chemistry resources to complement internal capabilities, comments Omno van de Stolpe, CEO and founder of Galapagos.
BioFocus DPI offers a range of integrated capabilities in medicinal chemistry, in vitro biology, cheminformatics, and bioinformatics, which combined provide a variety of approaches for the rapid identification and development of small molecule leads.
"The combination of expertise now means Galapagos and BioFocus provide a service offering that stretches from the initial identification of protein targets in any therapeutic area, through to the delivery of promising preclinical candidates, with the advantage of being able to start the drug discovery process with disease-relevant human primary cell models," notes van de Stolpe.