GlaxoSmithKline has linked up with Galapagos to discover and develop new anti-infectives, the natural product compound collection and chemistry capabilities of BioFocus DPI, the Belgian firm’s services division.

Under the terms of the deal, Galapagos will receive up to 3.5 million euros in technology access fees and up to 215 million euros in development and commercial milestones. It also stands to get a double-digit royalty on sales of products from the alliance which grants GSK options to license drug candidates that are directed against up to six anti-infective discovery targets.

The Mechelen-based firm will be responsible for the discovery and development of natural product small molecule drug candidates through to 'proof of concept’ in clinical trials, at which point GSK will have the exclusive option to license each compound for further development and commercialisation on a worldwide basis.

Onno van de Stolpe, Galapagos' chief executive, noted that the deal is the firm’s first outside bone and joint diseases and shows that it can “generate significant business in new therapeutic areas". He added that the alliance “fits within our strategy of executing risk/reward sharing deals with big pharma”.

Zhi Hong, head of GSK's Infectious Diseases Centre of Excellence for Drug Discovery said that "we recognise the significant unmet medical needs in hospital or community-acquired bacterial infections plus life-threatening viral diseases". He went to stay that “it is therefore prudent to explore novel chemical space and targets that offer new prospects for treatments across a range of infectious diseases”.

GSK’s Stout to leave
The news comes after GSK noted that one of the two senior bosses who missed out on becoming the firm’s next chief executive, head of US pharmaceuticals Chris Viehbacher, is joining the board, while the other candidate , David Stout, currently president of pharmaceuticals, will leave the company in February.

Andrew Witty, who was named CEO-designate in October, effective from May 2008, is also joining the board and will be succeeded as president of European pharmaceuticals by Eddie Gray, currently head of the UK business.