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Gilead steps in to rescue Galapagos RA drug

Published on 18/12/15 at 03:00pm
Gilead sign

Gilead Sciences is to pay $725million for the rights to filgotinib, a JAK1-selective inhibitor for rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases under development by Galapagos Pharma.

The deal means Gilead will pay Galapagos an upfront payment of $725 million consisting of a license fee of $300 million and a $425 million equity investment in Galapagos. 

Galapagos will also be eligible to receive further development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments up to $1.35 billion, plus tiered royalties on global sales starting at 20%, with the exception of the co-promotion territories where profits will be shared equally.

Filgotinib had been under development as part of a Galapagos partnership with AbbVie. However AbbVie pulled out of the agreement earlier this year and handed the rights back to the Belgian-based pharma firm.  At the time AbbVie said it would prioritise the development of ABT-494, which is in two Phase II trials investigating its efficacy in rheumatoid arthritis.

Both filgotinib and ABT-494 are being developed to challenge Pfizer's Xeljanz (tofacitinib), the only JAK inhibitor currently approved for sale as a rheumatoid arthritis treatment

Under the terms of the new agreement with Gilead, the companies will collaborate jointly on the global development of filgotinib starting with the initiation of Phase III trials in RA. Galapagos will co-fund 20% of global development activities and Gilead will be responsible for manufacturing and worldwide marketing and sales activities. Galapagos has the option to co-promote filgotinib in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, in which case the companies will share profits equally.

“This partnership represents an opportunity to add complementary clinical programs to our growing inflammation research and development efforts,” says Norbert Bischofberger, Gilead’s executive vice president of research and development and chief scientific officer. “We look forward to working with Galapagos to advance this program forward as quickly as possible.”

Onno van de Stolpe, chief executive of Galapagos adds: “We are excited about the potential of filgotinib in RA and other diseases with a strong partner like Gilead, which shares our goal of rapidly delivering these therapies for patients. Furthermore, we look forward to the perspective of working together worldwide across other possible indications. The co-development and co-promotion aspects of this collaboration bring us into the next phase of the company’s evolution.”

Lilian Anekwe

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