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Morphosys, Novartis and Galaagos shut down development of atopic dermatitis candidate

The trio of Galapagos, MorphoSys and Novartis Pharma has revealed that all further development of its MOR106 drug candidate for the treatment of atopic dermatitis is to be terminated.

The decision was reached by all three parties after an interim analysis discovered that the candidate was unlikely to meet the study’s primary endpoint of percentage change in the eczema area and severity index (EASI) score.

However, the company pointed out that while the therapy’s efficacy was in question, its safety profile was not.

Gilead invests $5.1 billion into Galapagos NV

Gilead has entered into a 10 year partnership with Belgo-Dutch biotech Galapagos NV.

The collaboration will see Gilead invest $5.1 billion in Galapagos. The deal will give Gilead access to Galapagos’ portfolio which includes six molecules in clinical trials, 20 preclinical programmes and a proven drug discovery platform.

Gilead will pay Galapagos $3.95 billion upfront and a further $1.1 billion equity investment which Galapagos will use to expand and accelerate its research and development programmes.

Gilead and Galapagos' ankylosing spondylitis drug hits Phase 2 trial goal

Gilead and Galapagos have announced that their jointly-developed selective JAK1 inhibitor filgotinib has met its primary endpoint in a Phase 2 trial investigating its efficacy in the treatment of moderately to severely active ankylosing spondylitis (AS) in adult patients.

Specifically, the therapy was found to lead to “significantly greater improvements” in AS Disease Activity Score (ASDAS) – the trial’s primary endpoint – after 12 weeks of treatment; the mean change of -1.5 versus -0.6 for placebo, while 76% of patients taking filgotinib achieved an ASAS response of 20 compared to

AbbVie and Galapagos extend deal

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AbbVie and Belgian biotech Galapagos have bolted on a development programme for Crohn’s disease to the selective JAK1 inhibitor they are currently exploring in rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

GLPG0634 is about to move into Phase IIb in RA - after which AbbVie will be responsible for commercialisation and development in that therapy area.

The extension of this agreement will see Galapagos fund and complete a Phase II programme for it in Crohn’s, running in parallel to the RA study, with a view to moving the investigational drug swiftly into Phase III.

Roche bins Galapagos tie-up

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Roche has ended its three-year old alliance with Belgian drug discovery specialist Galapagos because of a ‘strategic change’.

The companies signed a COPD deal in December 2009 and broadened it to include fibrosis a year later.

The Swiss firm has now pulled out, leaving Galapagos holding worldwide rights to all fibrosis assays and targets which came to light during the tie-up. 

“We regret that Roche ended the alliance due to a strategic change, but the good news is that all assets have returned to Galapagos,” said Galapagos chief executive Onno van de Stolpe.

Abbott buys into Galapagos' RA candidate

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Abbott is looking for a successor to its blockbuster Humira

Abbott has struck a deal with Galapagos to develop and commercialise a promising oral JAK1 inhibitor to treat multiple autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis.

Abbott’s Humira is the world’s leading treatment for rheumatoid arthritis (and several other autoimmune diseases), clocking up $7.93 billion in sales in 2011.

But competition is fierce to find the drug which will represent the ‘next generation’ treatment for RA and other autoimmune diseases.

Contract research news in brief

A round-up of recent news from the CRO sector, featuring updates from Covance, Quotient Bioresearch, PPD, i3, Galapagos, MediSync BioServices and MediData Solutions.

Covance has opened a new central laboratory in Japan in partnership with local company BML Inc. The CB Trial Laboratory in Kawagoe City, Saitama Prefecture, will be solely used for testing clinical trial samples generated by Covance's Japanese studies over the course of the collaboration, which is initially set at five years.

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