Galapagos, e-therapeutics Partner to Identify Compounds to Treat Fibrotic Diseases

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by Inês Martins PhD |

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New partnership, IPF

Galapagos and e-therapeutics are partnering to investigate mechanisms involved in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and other fibrotic conditions and to select potential therapeutic candidates.

The collaboration will combine Galapagos’ extensive knowledge on IPF and fibrosis with e-therapeutics’ Network-driven Drug Discovery (NDD) platform for examining disease mechanisms and screening candidate treatments.

It will focus on a specific pathway of interest to Galapagos, leaving e-therapeutics free to explore all other mechanisms involved in IPF and fibrosis.

“We look forward to working with Galapagos on this project in areas of clear unmet medical need such as IPF and fibrosis,” Ali Mortazavi, executive chairman of e-therapeutics, said in a press release.

Conventional drug development approaches take many years and several billion dollars to reach approval by regulatory authorities, and many therapies fail along the process. e-therapeutics believes this is because developers often look at single disease pathways and fail to look at diseases as a complex network of interactions.

Using sophisticated computer-based analysis, the company builds models of the complex cellular mechanisms involved in disease processes. These models are made based on prior disease knowledge and from extensive data comparing diseased and healthy tissue in terms of gene mutations, gene expression, methylation patterns — which define which genes are “on” or “off” — and protein production. This is particularly important for IPF and fibrotic diseases in general, as fibrosis is a multicomponent disease.

Researchers can then screen drug libraries to identify therapeutic compounds that impact network integrity in an optimal manner. This screening is done using artificial intelligence (AI) and big data technology; selected compounds are then taken to the lab where their efficacy is put to the test in disease models.

“We draw from our comprehensive Al-enhanced library of over 15 million compounds and use sophisticated mathematical and big data analysis techniques to match drug-like small molecules to our networks based on their potential bioactivity,” the company states on its website.

“By addressing the complexity of disease with our powerful NDD platform, we aim to discover more efficacious drugs more effectively,” the company adds.

According to Mortazavi, the collaboration between e-therapeutics and Galapagos “provides additional validation of our platform and its applications in drug discovery and development. Our platform is scalable and can be applied to all areas of biology, providing an engine for diverse drug discovery projects and enabling us to help partners in numerous ways.”

Galapagos has a special interest in inflammation and fibrosis, with two candidates in development for the treatment of IPF — GLPG1690 and GLPG1205.