Galapagos NV has expanded its global multi-year strategic alliance with Roche to develop new drugs against chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The partners have added more antibody targets in the alliance, which could become leads for molecules based on nucleic acids and/or amino acids.

The scope of molecules could include peptides, siRNA and other nucleic acids.

The partners first established their alliance in January 2010, under which Galapagos applies its discovery platform to discover new COPD targets and is responsible for developing small molecule candidate drugs, while Roche has option to licence them.

Roche will be responsible for preclinical development and commercialisation.

Under the agreement, Roche has paid €6m to Galapagos as a research access payment and can expand the milestone payments in favour of Galapagos by €150m.

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By GlobalData

COPD is a lung disease characterised by difficulty in breathing and persistent coughing. The primary causes of the disease are tobacco smoke and air pollution that damage and irritate lung tissue, leading to narrowing of the airways.

An estimated 210 million people worldwide are affected by COPD and more than five million die each year.