PARIS ¿ Galapagos Genomics NV entered into a functional genomics collaboration with Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals, a division of Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble Co., entailing the use of Galapagos¿ adenovirus technology for validating the utility of genes as new drug targets.

The one-year agreement calls for Galapagos, of Mechelen, Belgium, to supply P&GP with adenoviral vectors containing human genes selected by the U.S. company. Galapagos will construct the recombinant adenoviruses using its PhenoSelect expression platform. P&GP will then use these viruses to introduce and express newly discovered genes into human cells in vitro and to evaluate the function of the proteins encoded by those genes.

The number of genes to be analyzed was not disclosed, but Laurens Theunis, Galapagos¿ business development manager, told BioWorld International it was ¿less than 100.¿ They will be concentrated in two disease areas compatible with P&GP¿s research and development activities, but neither these nor the financial terms of the deal were divulged. However, P&GP¿s drug discovery effort is known to be focused on musculoskeletal and cardiovascular diseases, as well as the development of new anti-infectives.

Theunis compared the deal to the functional genomics collaboration between Galapagos and Incyte Genomics Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., which dates back to November 2000 and was broadened in September calling for Galapagos to construct a custom adenoviral library composed of genes relevant to Incyte¿s in-house drug target discovery and validation effort.

Galapagos said its recombinant adenoviral technology already has proved its superiority over other approaches for the functional characterization of genes and the identification of genes associated with particular diseases because, unlike other methods, it establishes a causal relationship between gene and function. The company is a joint subsidiary of Crucell NV, of Leiden, the Netherlands, and Tibotec-Virco NV, of Mechelen. Its functional genomics platform of arrayed adenoviruses containing human genes is based on Crucell¿s PER.C6 human cell line expression platform, for which it has an exclusive license in functional genomics applications.