Galapagos NV has announced that its subsidiary BioFocus has signed a 3-year collaboration agreement with Biogen Idec focused on the identification and validation of novel targets in scleroderma.
Galapagos' service division BioFocus will use its SilenceSelect® platform and unique human skin models to deliver new assays and identify disease-modifying targets in scleroderma to Biogen Idec.
Under the terms of the agreement, BioFocus will receive an upfront payment, FTE funding, and will be eligible to receive success payments for target discovery milestones to be delivered by BioFocus and development milestones achieved by Biogen Idec.
The total value of this collaboration to BioFocus could reach $31 million.
"We believe Galapagos has unique expertise with relevant human primary cells, positioning them well to find new targets for disease-modifying therapies against scleroderma," said Jo Viney, vice president of discovery sciences at Biogen Idec.
"We welcome Biogen Idec to our client base and look forward to applying our versatile target discovery engine to yet another new disease area with unmet medical need," added David Smith, CEO Galapagos Services.
Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease characterized by hardening of the skin. Patients with diffuse scleroderma also experience hardening of the organs, which can be particularly disabling and also fatal.
Scleroderma is found worldwide, affecting 1 in 1000 in the United States, with women four times more likely than men to develop the disease.
The root causes of the disease are not well understood, and there are no disease-modifying treatments.