BioWorld International Correspondent

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Galapagos NV, of Mechelen, Belgium, has formed a worldwide multitarget alliance with Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, a Johnson & Johnson company, to discover and develop small-molecule therapeutics for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

Under the alliance agreement, Janssen may select up to 12 programs from Galapagos' internally identified RA targets. It also will have an option on development and commercialization of Galapagos' most advanced program based on the kinase target GT418. A compound from that drug discovery program is expected to enter Phase I clinical trials in 2008.

Janssen will make an initial up-front cash payment of €15 million (US$21 million), and a €2 million milestone payment for the selection of GT146, one of Galapagos' advanced RA programs, into the alliance. Galapagos will be responsible for the discovery of small-molecule product candidates for validated RA targets that are chosen by Janssen, and for Phase IIa proof-of-concept clinical trials.

Galapagos also will be eligible for success-based progress milestones from Janssen. For each alliance program licensed by Janssen, contingent on discovery, development and regulatory accomplishments, Galapagos could receive option exercise fees and milestone payments up to €73 million, plus royalties on net sales of each approved new RA drug.

Galapagos revised its 2007 financial guidance accordingly, with revenues expected to be €60 million to €64 million, as compared to previous guidance of €54 million to €58 million. The 2007 year-end cash position is expected to exceed €48 million, as compared to previous guidance of a year end cash position exceeding €31 million. The company also just announced the creation of a new warrant plan for the benefit of its employees.