Galapagos-UA Collaboration on New Antibiotic Research Receives €2.5 million grant

Patrícia Silva, PhD avatar

by Patrícia Silva, PhD |

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Galapagos NV, a Belgium-based, clinical stage biotech company focused on developing novel mode of action medicines, recently announced it has received a €2.5 million grant from the Flemish Agency for Innovation through Science and Technology (IWT), which is meant to fund the company’s further research and development of new antibiotics. Working closely with Galapagos on this project is Professor Herman Goossens, Head of the Microbiology laboratory at the University of Antwerp (UA), who said, “By funding this Public Private Partnership between Galapagos and the UA, we should be able to give fresh impetus to the successful development of new drugs against multi-resistant bugs that have already killed so many people worldwide.”

Newer antibiotics would mean cystic fibrosis patients, known to have extreme difficulty clearing antibiotic-resistant respiratory infections, will soon have a better chance at recovering without developing severe complications. “We appreciate the support of the IWT for our research,” said Dr. Piet Wigerinck, Chief Scientific Officer of Galapagos. “There is a large unmet medical need for small spectrum antibiotics addressing MRSA and other major public health threats.”

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One of the new pipeline antibiotics is GLPG1492, a narrow spectrum antibiotic that employs a unique mode-of-action against all Staphylococcus aureas strains, MRSA included. Preclinical findings demonstrated the drug’s superior efficacy on all types of known MRSA, with potential to be used as a platform for targeting both gram positive and gram negative bacteria, including ESKAPE pathogens. As of now, Galapagos is still preparing for 2015’s Phase I clinical trial on healthy participants.

The IWT awarded the grant through the transformational medical research (TGO) program, and will be allocated to the research project ‘Partnering tiered clinical Phase II anti-MRSA antibiotic with rapid diagnostic test development,’ in collaboration with the Laboratory of Medical Microbiology of UA. This research project is expected to employ innovative methods and technology to accelerate the discovery of more novel antibiotics that are effective against resistant strains. The project will also develop a rapid diagnostic test for these resistant strains.

In other news on CF treatments, KaloBios Pharmaceuticals, Inc. recently announced data on a Phase 2 randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of KB001-A, an anti-PcrV monoclonal antibody (mAb) fragment, to be used as treatment for Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Pa) lung infections in subjects with cystic fibrosis (CF).