Galapagos has expanded its research collaboration with Candian firm Fibrocor Therapeutics, which develops tissue-specific therapeutics for fibrotic diseases.

Under the deal, the Belgian biotech company also acquired an equity stake in Fibrocor.

The deal comes a year after the two companies partnered for a small molecule inhibitor programme.

Galapagos chief scientific officer Dr Piet Wigerinck said: “The expanded collaboration with Fibrocor announced today fits perfectly into our continued efforts to broaden our pipeline in fibrosis.

“The discovery approach at Fibrocor is clearly successful in identifying interesting novel targets and we are fully committed to working closely with the Fibrocor team to discover new therapies to address the large unmet medical need in fibrosis.”

The expansion of the collaboration provides Galapagos with the exclusive option to in-license four additional novel target programmes.

Galapagos can withdraw the option after the targets are validated and advance to the lead optimisation stage.

As agreed, Fibrocor will carry out all research activity until the targets reach lead optimisation stage. Subsequently, Galapagos will assume the responsibility of development along with global commercialisation rights.

In return, Fibrocor will receive an upfront payment and be entitled to option exercise, milestone and royalty payments.

Fibrocor president and CEO Mark Steedman said: “This expansion agreement deepens our relationship and provides a commercial line of sight for our drug discovery efforts with one of the leading European biotech companies.”

In July, Gilead Sciences expanded its partnership with Galapagos with a ten-year global research and development (R&D) deal.

The deal gave Gilead Sciences access to Galapagos compounds, as well as its research base.