Pharma, R&D

Galapagos snags co-promotion rights on filgotinib — just before Gilead’s lock-up pact expires

Exactly two years after Gilead $GILD stepped in with $725 million in cash to buy into licensing rights for Galapagos’ $GLPG spotlight drug filgotinib, the Belgian biotech has decided to grab the European co-promotion rights it had left for itself in the deal. And market wags won’t overlook the fact that the original deal they worked out included a lockup and standstill agreement for Gilead to sit on its 13.27% stake — right up until that part of the pact expires in just 17 days.

Onno van de Stolpe

Galapagos is tearing off a 35% piece of the co-promotion work in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg. The two companies will split in profit or loss from their sales effort, if everything moves ahead according to plan. And Galapagos gets a deep double-digit royalty outside its co-promotion regions.

The storied Galapagos drug, which had been dumped by AbbVie only to be quickly picked back up in a rich deal with Gilead, is being put through three late-stage studies — dubbed FINCH 1, 2 and 3 – which will test two doses in more than 3,000 rheumatoid arthritis patients.

That note on the expiring standstill agreement will attract considerable buzz from analysts and investors who never could let go of the motivation Gilead would have in acquiring the biotech — if it still believes that they’re on to a blockbuster. Gilead, though, has satisfied analysts looking for a transformational deal with the $12 billion Kite buyout and a plan to concentrate its M&A work on CAR-T.

In the meantime, Galapagos says it’s using the lead up to a marketing application to start creating a commercial organization.

“With this decision, Galapagos takes the next step in its development and moves towards the commercial phase. We and Gilead are preparing the potential launch of filgotinib, during which time Galapagos plans to build a commercial infrastructure to co-promote with Gilead. It is gratifying that, after all the early years of innovation, Galapagos is now preparing to commercialize the first asset arising from our discovery efforts,” said CEO and founder of Galapagos, Onno van de Stolpe.

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