Galapagos will receive €1.5 million, or $2.04 million, from Merck & Co. under an agreement to develop new therapies in obesity and diabetes. Additionally, Galapagos is eligible to receive discovery, development, and regulatory milestones that could exceed €170 million, or $230.71 million, for multiple products. Merck will also pay sales milestones and royalties upon commercialization of any products covered under the agreement.
Galapagos will be responsible for the discovery and preclinical development of small molecule candidates. This work will be financed through the milestone payments from Merck, according to Andre Hoekema, svp corporate development. Merck will provide animal models and disease expertise.
Galapagos will use its SilenceSelect® platform to identify novel targets in obesity and diabetes. After validation, targets will be selected by a joint steering committee, and Galapagos will conduct screening and chemistry activities.
Galapagos may execute Phase I clinical studies and will have the right to further develop and commercialize certain compounds for which Merck does not exercise its exclusive option.
Merck will have the exclusive option to license each candidate for clinical development and commercialization on a worldwide basis.
Galapagos will aim to find drugs that can increase the production of insulin in our body, decrease the production of glucose, modify the disease, and reduce the body fat, notes Hoekema.