Galapagos has regained rights to the anti-inflammatory drug candidate GLPG1690 and two additional compounds from Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceutica, with both companies saying today they “mutually agreed” to end an eight-year collaboration.

In a statement, Galapagos said it had successfully completed a first-in-human Phase I safety trial for GLPG1690, a selective autotaxin inhibitor, and is preparing a Phase II clinical trial in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

“There is a large unmet medical need in IPF, and our preclinical data with GLPG1690 supports its potential as a competitive and novel approach in this disease area,” Piet Wigerinck, Ph.D., Galapagos’ CSO, said in a statement.

Galapagos and Janssen launched their collaboration in October 2007, with the stated goal of discovering and developing new small molecule therapeutics for rheumatoid arthritis. Janssen paid Galapagos €15 million (about $21.3 million at the time, now worth $15.9 million) upfront.

The collaboration generated three clinical molecules, two of which are now Phase II assets of Galapagos: GLPG1690 and GLPG1205, a first-in-class inhibitor of GPR84 whose rights Janssen returned to Galapagos in December 2014.

GLPG1205 is now being assessed in a Phase II proof-of-concept trial in ulcerative colitis patients, after showing positive Phase I results in 2013. The discovery of the compound triggered a milestone payment to Galapagos in 2013 of €4 million (about $5.3 million at the time; now equivalent to $4.25 million).

“This program is a valuable component of our development portfolio, and regaining the rights is a next step in our transformation into a mature biotech company with a proprietary product pipeline,” Dr. Wigerinck added.

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