Belgium’s Galapagos has acquired the full rights to an investigational arthritis compound from partner GlaxoSmithKline.

The compound GLPG0634, is a small molecule drug previously part of the biotech’s arthritis alliance with GSK and Galapagos is initiating a Phase I clinical trial this morning. The oral drug is selective against Janus kinase (JAK) 1 and 2 targets and has “demonstrated excellent activity in biochemical studies and in vivo models of rheumatoid arthritis, and has successfully completed pre-clinical development”.

Galapagos chief executive Onno van de Stolpe said that “JAK inhibitors have shown great efficacy in rheumatoid arthritis trials recently”. He added that GLPG0634 has “a competitive therapeutic profile and we believe that this is an attractive compound to take into development."

No financial details of the reacquisition of rights have been disclosed and Galapagos noted that it “aims to maximise the value of GLPG0634 before seeking a partner for development”.

Meantime, the Mechelen-based group noted that for the six months of the year, revenues rose 27% to 49.9 million euros, while its net loss increased to 10.5 million euros, compared to a loss of 7.3 million euros for the like, year-earlier period. Mr van de Stolpe said the timing of “certain expected milestones impacted our interim financial results” and the second half will be better.

Galapagos expects full-year revenues to reach 135 million euros “with positive operating income and cash flow, and a positive net result”.