Galapagos, Amsterdam Molecular Therapeutics B.V. (AMT), The Netherlands Institute for Brain Research (NIBR), and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VUA) have announced their collaboration to develop innovative treatments for acute spinal cord and peripheral nerve damage (neurotrauma).
The research collaboration will combine the expertise of four Dutch organizations and will be funded in part by a 2 million Euro grant from the Dutch governmental organization Senter.
The project will focus on developing therapeutics to promote nerve regeneration and to diminish the effect of neural scarring, one of the main causes for the failure of the traumatically injured spinal cord and peripheral nerve to regenerate.
According to the terms of the collaboration, Galadeno, Galapagos' partnering division, will provide access to its functional genomics platform on a fee-for-service basis.
Access to this technology will enable the partners to discover protein targets involved in regeneration of injured nerve tissue.
Once these targets have been identified, AMT will further develop technologies based on their gene therapy platform.
NIBR will use its expertise in neuroregeneration as well as micro-array technology and the VUA will contribute its state-of-the-art capabilities for analyzing nerve cell growth to further develop the therapeutics.
"Galapagos is pleased to collaborate with these prominent Dutch institutions," said Onno van de Stolpe, CEO of Galapagos.
"The use of our target discovery technology in combination with our nerve cell expertise, gained through our research in Alzheimer's disease, will be an important contribution to the collaboration."
"The use of Galapagos' siRNA vectors in functional assays at this scale will provide us unique insight in the complex genetic network that is at the basis of neuronal outgrowth,” said Guus Smit, head of the department of Molecular & Cellular Neurobiology of the VUA.
He adds, “It is this type of information that we need to get to effective gene therapy for neurorepair. I look forward to become engaged in this scientific challenge."
"I am very excited by the prospect that we will now be able to determine the function of a large set of target genes that are potentially involved in neurorepair," said Joost Verhaagen, Head of the Laboratory for Neuroregeneration at the Netherlands Institute for Brain research.
"The partnership between the NIBR, the VUA and the leading Dutch gene therapy company AMT puts us in a unique position to develop molecular therapies for neurotrauma."
"Bringing together the expertise necessary to develop a real breakthrough treatment for all those patients suffering from the serious consequences of neurotrauma is a major step forward,” according to Prof. Sander van Deventer, Chief Scientific Officer of AMT B.V.
“The importance of making this effort into a combined academic and biotechnology industrial undertaking is underlined by the Dutch government in granting a major Senter grant to the research partners."
Further announcements continuing on the subject of recently signed research collaborations in the field of neurology, Galapagos would further like to announce that the 2.4 million Euro collaboration with the High Q Foundation, as initially announced on 12 August 2005, was formally signed last week.
"These two recent agreements demonstrate that Galapagos has a flexible business model, capable of partnerships with patient organizations and government research groups as well as large pharma," added Galapagos' Mr. Van de Stolpe.