Galapagos NV has announced that the Flemish Agency for Innovation through Science and Technology (IWT) has awarded a €1.6 million grant to support the development of new antiviral therapies against hepatitis B, in a collaboration project with Prof. Johan Neyts of the Rega Institute of the University of Leuven and Prof. Stephan Urban of the University Hospital in Heidelberg.
The goal of the project is to identify novel compounds and targets with the potential to cure chronic hepatitis B infection, allowing patients to come off current life-long therapy.
Galapagos will use its proprietary target and drug discovery platform to identify novel modes of action and screen for candidate drugs. The Rega and Heidelberg sites will contribute to the development of assays, perform analysis of the mechanism of action of drug candidates, and bring in expertise of the virus and its life cycle to accelerate the progression of drug development.
"Chronic hepatitis B is a disease area with significant unmet medical need, and where Galapagos and its academic partners can bring unique expertise to bear on finding new therapies," said Dr Piet Wigerinck, Chief Scientific Officer of Galapagos.
"It would be an enormous advance if patients could be cured of their chronic HBV infection" said Prof. Johan Neyts, virologist at the University of Leuven.