Galapagos NV and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics, Inc. (CFFT) have announced a new collaboration aimed at discovering new treatments for cystic fibrosis. This new agreement between CFFT and Galapagos' BioFocus DPI service division is worth up to €5.5 million euros ($8.1 million U.S. dollars) for Galapagos.
The collaboration will combine two key strengths of BioFocus DPI - expertise in natural product drug discovery and screening in cells derived from patients. Specifically, the collaboration aims to identify small molecules derived from natural sources that improve the function of a defective protein found in people who have cystic fibrosis.
The protein is called CFTR - cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator. To advance the search for a cure for cystic fibrosis, CFFT funds promising scientific research in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry and academia worldwide.
Under the terms of the agreement, Galapagos stands to receive up to €1.6 million ($2.4 million) in upfront and research fees over the next two years, and up to €3.8 million ($5.7 million) in success-based milestone payments, should certain clinical development criteria be met.
This drug discovery collaboration is in addition to an ongoing target discovery program established between CFFT and BioFocus DPI in April 2005.
"We are excited to take advantage of the innovative drug discovery approach developed by BioFocus DPI and the company's extensive expertise in natural compounds," said Robert J. Beall, Ph.D., President and CEO of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. "By exploring compounds derived from natural sources, our goal is to increase the number and diversity of drug candidates in development to treat cystic fibrosis."
"The CFFT drug discovery collaboration is a prime example of the kind of innovation we aimed to achieve through our acquisition strategy," said Onno van de Stolpe, CEO of Galapagos. "We have seen a growing interest in natural product based drug discovery since acquiring these capabilities last year. By combining this expertise with our know-how in cell-based screening, we are confident that we will contribute to the advancement of CFFT's drug discovery program in novel ways."