Collaboration, which will net Galapagos $3.23M initially, will make use of firm’s SilenceSelect® platform.

Galapagos entered into a multiyear global strategic alliance with Merck & Co., to develop potential new therapies in inflammatory diseases. Galapagos will be responsible for the discovery and preclinical development of new small molecule candidate drugs based on its targets. Merck will have the exclusive option to license each candidate for clinical development and commercialization.

The alliance will make use of Galapagos’ SilenceSelect® target discovery platform for identification of novel targets in inflammatory diseases. After validation, targets will be selected by a joint steering committee and entered into screening and chemistry by Galapagos.

Merck has the option to acquire an exclusive license to each candidate drug, and upon exercise of such an option Merck will be responsible for the development and commercialization of the candidate drug. 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.

Under the terms of the agreement, Galapagos will receive an up-front fee of €2.5 million ($3.23 million) from Merck. In addition, Galapagos is eligible to receive discovery, development and regulatory milestone payments that could potentially exceed €192 million total for multiple products, as well as specific sales milestones and royalties upon commercialization of any products covered under the agreement.

“This new alliance with Merck in inflammatory diseases, our sixth pharma alliance to date, underscores the quality and versatility of Galapagos’ target discovery platform,” said Onno van de Stolpe, CEO.

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