Belgium-based biotech Galapagos has signed a collaboration deal with Scipher Medicine to advance novel drug targets for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Scipher uses its proprietary Network Medicine Platform in combination with molecular patients data and AI-based methods to identify novel targets and pathways in autoimmune disease such as IBD.

As part of the deal, Scipher and Galapagos will jointly validate a range of novel IBD targets, and Galapagos then has the exclusive option to progress up to five targets into further drug discovery and development stages.

Under the terms of the agreement, Scipher is eligible to receive upfront, opt-in and milestone payments while Galapagos will retain the right for the discovery, development and commercialisation of therapeutics for the selected targets.

“Our breakthrough approach combines extensive patient-level molecular data with AI methods to discover novel targets with the potential to treat specific groups of patients, including those not responding to therapies currently available,” said Alif Saleh, Chief Executive Officer of Scipher Medicine.

“This partnership with Galapagos is a recognition of our innovative approach to discover and validate novel targets that could offer a solution for IBD patients,” Saleh added.

“The collaboration with Scipher is aligned with our strategy to discover and develop novel modes of action medicines with the potential to disrupt current treatment paradigms to address high unmet needs in inflammatory diseases,” said Piet Wigerinck, Chief Scientific Officer of Galapagos.

“We believe that our drug discovery and development expertise alongside Scipher’s platform will support us in the discovery of exciting new drug candidates,” Wigerinck added.