Belgian biotechnology company Galapagos has signed an integrated drug discovery partnership with contract research organisation (CRO) NovAliX.

As per the agreement, NovAliX will acquire Galapagos’ drug discovery and research activities based in Romainville, France. The employees in Romainville who are engaged in the operation of these activities will be transferred to NovAliX.

In return, the biotechnology firm will gain access to the research capabilities and expertise of the CRO via a five-year collaboration and within the context of the research and development (R&D) portfolio of the company.

The agreement is said to align with Galapagos’ focus on its primary therapeutic areas of oncology and immunology.

It comes after the firm’s reorientation into a fit-for-purpose R&D organisation to promote innovation, lower risks, and accelerate drug development process.

Galapagos said that the financial impact of the deal is included in its previously announced 2023 cash burn guidance in the range of €380m and €420m.

Galapagos CEO and chairman Paul Stoffels said: “Last year, we announced our Forward, Faster strategy, and the strategic reorientation of our company into a fit-for-purpose R&D organisation.

“In light of our renewed focus and our goal to safeguard the continued employment of our colleagues at our research site in Romainville, we are extremely pleased that we have come to an agreement with NovAliX.

“I am confident that our transferred colleagues together with the teams at NovAliX will thrive and that they will continue to contribute to the future success of Galapagos as part of this long-term collaboration.”

The deal is expected to close in July 2023, subject to customary closing conditions.

NovAliX president Stephan Jenn said: “The acquisition of Galapagos’ drug discovery and research activities in Romainville, including its highly skilled team, is the perfect fit for NovAliX in order to complement our DNA-Encoded-Libraries database2 and cryo-EM3 driven discovery engine.

“It positions us as a key player in the field, offering the full scope of drug discovery capabilities and innovative technologies in kidney diseases, fibrosis and immunology, complementing our existing expertise in oncology and infectious diseases.”

In the past, both companies signed a drug discovery collaboration in the field of osteoarthritis.