PARIS ¿ The Belgian functional genomics company Galapagos Genomics NV signed a research collaboration agreement with Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. to identify the function of proteins encoded by novel genes in selected target protein families.

The deal provides for Galapagos to use its PhenoSelect expression platform for selecting custom-based recombinant adenoviruses for protein targets related to Cambridge, Mass.-based Vertex¿s small-molecule drug design program. Vertex will use the collection of adenoviruses provided by Galapagos to characterize protein activity within targeted biological pathways.

The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed, and the identity of the targets also is being kept under wraps.

Galapagos, of Mechelen, was set up in 1999 as a joint subsidiary of Tibotec-Virco NV, also of Mechelen, and Crucell NV, of Leiden, the Netherlands. It has developed a functional genomics platform using arrayed adenoviruses containing human genes to identify drug targets and therapeutic genes. The company¿s technology is based on Crucell¿s PER.C6 human cell line expression platform, for which Galapagos has an exclusive license in functional genomics applications. The format of its PhenoSelect libraries enables it to carry out high-throughput screening using cellular assays.

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