31.01.2013 - Belgian Galapagos NV has secured €2.5m from Flemish IWT to screen for new compounds to treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
The goal of the 2.5-year project is to find new compounds against IBD, a chronic, uncontrolled inflammation of the intestinal mucosa such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. The Mechelen-based company already runs a Phase I programme termed GLPG0974 that reduces migration of neutrophils by targeting GPR43 (FFA2).
The purpose of the IWT-funded program is to improve its understanding of the roles of GPR43 and two other undisclosed targets in the pathobiology of chronic inflammatory disorders. Galapagos will collaborate in this project with Professor Dr Paul Rutgeerts and Professor Dr Séverine Vermeire from the Catholic University of Leuven, and the research group of Professor Dr Martine De Vos at Ghent University.
The 2010 winner of the European Biotechnica Award has alsopartnered and unpartnered programmes in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). "After RA, IBD is the second autoimmune disease focus for Galapagos. With this grant we will gain a better understanding of the cause of IBD, and this will contribute to the search for better medicines," said Piet Wigerinck, CSO of Galapagos. The current understanding of the pathogenesis of IBD is limited. The characteristic inflammatory response begins with infiltration of neutrophils and macrophages, which release chemokines and cytokines. These in turn exacerbate the dysfunctional immune response and activate cellular and humoral responses in the gut mucosa.
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