Having just signed an $840 million anti-inflammatory deal with Ablynx, AbbVie has inked a pact with another Belgian group, Galapagos, this time in cystic fibrosis.

Specifically, the firms say they will contribute technologies and resources in order to develop oral drugs that address the main mutations in CF patients, including F508del and G551D, with the aim of initiating Phase I studies at the end of 2014. Cashwise, AbbVie will pay an initial upfront fee of $45 million to Galapagos which is eligible to receive up to $360 million in other milestone payments, plus double-digit royalties.

AbbVie will be responsible for commercial activities, with Galapagos retaining exclusive rights in China and South Korea and co-promotion rights in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.

Galapagos notes that it has been working with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation since 2005 and five years later decided that CF would be the first orphan disease area it would try and develop and launch its own medicines.

AbbVie and Galapagos are already partners, working together on a JAK-1 inhibitor which is i Phase IIb for rheumatoid arthritis. The compound, called GLPG0634, is about to go into Phase II for Crohn's disease.