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Scipher Medicine, Galapagos Sign IBD Drug Development Deal

NEW YORK – Precision immunology firm Scipher Medicine said on Wednesday that it has entered a collaboration with Galapagos to advance novel drug targets it has identified in analysis of molecular data from patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

The two companies will jointly validate a set of novel targets that Scipher has discovered using what it calls its Network Medicine Platform, a process that employs artificial intelligence methods and information about protein interaction networks, uncovering potentially druggable pathways and/or therapy-predictive biomarkers.

The company's first diagnostic product is a test for rheumatoid arthritis, called PrismRA, which has been shown to predict which biologic treatment-naive patients are likely to respond to anti-TNF drugs and which might be better served by other options.

Under the terms of Scipher's new agreement with Galapagos, the pharma firm will have the exclusive option to progress up to five IBD targets into further drug discovery and development once the companies' joint target validation process is complete. Scipher is eligible to receive upfront, opt-in and milestone payments and Galapagos will retain the rights for the discovery, development, and commercialization of any therapeutics for the targets in question.

Piet Wigerinck, Chief Scientific Officer of Galapagos, said in a statement that the collaboration with Scipher is aligned with its own strategy to discover and develop medicines "with the potential to disrupt current treatment paradigms to address high unmet needs in inflammatory diseases."

"We believe that our drug discovery and development expertise alongside Scipher's platform will support us in the discovery of exciting new drug candidates," he said in a statement.