Successful path-finders takes home European Biotechnica Award


A Hanover – Belgian target discovery specialist Galapagos Genomics NV has bagged Europe’s biggest prize for a biotech company. On the evening prior to the opening of the Biotechnica congress-fair in Hanover (October 5th-7th), Galapagos CEO Onno van de Stolpe and the company’s Senior VP for Corporate Development Andre Hoekema received the a 30,000 cash prize from Lower Saxony’s Economics Minister Jörg Bode, along with the lion’s share of EUR75,000 in awards granted by Deutsche Messe AG. The two other finalists – Austrian drug developer Apeiron AG (Vienna) and Swiss CNS specialist Addex Pharmaceuticals SA (Plan-Les-Ouates) – received non-cash prizes.
“Galapagos offers a remarkable combination of scientific know-how in a variety of indications and economic success through partnerships with eight major pharmaceutical companies,” said Rolf Werner, the deputy chair of the international Biotechnica jury panel from Boeh­ringer Ingelheim who headed up the awards ceremony. In fact, Galapagos’ potential risk-adjusted milestones currently total more than EUR 3.3bn, based on 8 pharma partnerships with GSK (EUR 419m in arthritis + anti-infectives), Janssen Pharmaceuticals (EUR1bn, rheumatoid arthritis), Merck & Co. (EUR592m, metabolic + inflammation indication), Roche (EUR 550m, COPD), Servier (EUR 300m, osteoarthritis) and Lilly (EUR275m, osteoporosis) plus royalties and sales milestones. Today, the company’s development pipeline comprises six of its own clinical programmes, as well as 50 others in the pre-clinical stage.
Ten years after its foundation in 1999, Galapagos has grown into one of the largest bio­pharmaceutical companies in Europe, with 2009 revenues of EUR 106m and R&D investment of a 60m. Begun as a joint venture between Crucell NV and Tibotec NV, Galapagos relied from the very beginning on a hybrid business model that combined internal functional target-screening programmes with a service business that had a record year in the identification of novel targets and first-in-class small molecule and biological drugs.
This year, 9,500 visitors and 500 exhibitors from 23 countries attended the Biotechnica, fewer than came to the last comparable congress-fair in 2008 (11,000 visitors, 535 exhibitors). However, Deutsche Messe AG CEO Stephan Kühne said the event was a success if you consider the current economic climate in the sector.

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