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Galapagos Expands Merck Drug Target Pact

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Galapagos said today that it has expanded a preclinical development agreement to discover, screen, and validate drug targets that Merck will develop and take to market.

The agreement, which could be worth as much as €400 million ($596 million), adds atherosclerosis drug targets to an earlier one that covered targets for obesity and diabetes.

This pact gives Merck an exclusive option to license each candidate for clinical development and worldwide commercialization, and it gives Galapagos the right to conduct Phase I clinical studies and to develop and market compounds that Merck does not option.

The initial agreement, sealed in January 2009, included potential milestone payments of up to €170 million for Galapagos, which also may be eligible for royalties from commercialization of products.

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