Belgium's Galapagos signs $405 million deal with AbbVie

BRUSSELS Tue Sep 24, 2013 8:27am EDT

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgian biotech firm Galapagos GLPG.BR has signed a cooperation deal worth up to $405 million with U.S. company AbbVie to develop a new treatment for cystic fibrosis.

AbbVie will make an upfront payment of $45 million and the Belgian firm is eligible for a further $360 million in additional milestone payments as the project progresses, the companies said on Tuesday.

Because of this announcement, Galapagos increased its 2013 cash balance guidance to 125 million euros from the 100 million euros it had guided for earlier.

Cystic fibrosis, which the companies say affects some 70,000 patients worldwide, is a progressive hereditary disease for which there is currently no cure.

The two companies will build on the research already done by Galapagos and aim to begin the first clinical studies in late 2014.

Before the press release came out, the Belgian market regulator had suspended the shares which were trading 2 percent lower at the time.

On Monday, AbbVie signed a deal with another Belgian biotech group, Ablynx (ABLX.BR), to develop an experimental drug for rheumatoid arthritis.

(Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; Editing by Adrian Croft)

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