BioWorld International Correspondent

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Galapagos Genomics reported another target discovery collaboration using the SilenceSelect gene knockdown platform it has developed - this time with Bayer HealthCare AG.

Last month Galapagos, of Mechelen, Belgium, reached deals with Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and with Boehringer Ingelheim for the use of its discovery platform. (See BioWorld International, Nov. 19, 2003.)

Galapagos said it will design cellular assays in disease areas of interest to Bayer, and subsequently screen the SilenceSelect and FLeXSelect gene collections to identify and validate targets that Bayer will take into drug discovery. SilenceSelect is a collection of adenoviruses with small interfering RNA based knockdown sequences targeting more than 4,000 human genes of potential value for pharmaceutical development. FLeXSelect is the mirror collection of adenoviruses with full-length genes from the same gene classes.

The deal initially covers a single screen but contains options for multiscreen approaches to be used. Bayer has the exclusive right to select validated targets for drug development in return for up-front payments, research funding and potential milestone payments. Further financial terms were not disclosed.

Onno van de Stolpe, CEO of Galapagos, told BioWorld International, "This partnership underlines the competitive edge of our company in combining our SilenceSelect and FLeXSelect libraries with high-throughput disease biology."

Bayer's five-year discovery partnership with Millennium Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., came to an end on Oct. 31. That relationship was based on identifying targets through profiling, a different process of the Galapagos technology for identifying targets functionally.