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Galapagos Reveals Key Drug Target for Alzheimer's Disease

Date Posted: Friday, February 13, 2009

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Galapagos NV announces the discovery of a human drug target that plays a key role in Alzheimer's disease. This breakthrough was published in journal Science.

The data presented in Science are a result of the collaboration between Galapagos and the academic group of Professor Bart De Strooper at the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology VIB and the KU Leuven in Belgium. The U.S. patent office has granted Galapagos a patent on this discovery.

"GPR3 is a promising drug target for developing a treatment for Alzheimer's. There is a lack of drug targets in this field, and it is gratifying that Galapagos discovered GPR3," commented Onno van de Stolpe, CEO of Galapagos. "Through this collaboration with Professor Bart De Strooper, one of the leading experts in the Alzheimer's field, we have been able to prove the key role of GPR3 in Alzheimer's and are excited that we can now share these data with the scientific community. Galapagos is now starting drug discovery with the aim to deliver a candidate drug to treat Alzheimer's disease."

The Science article describes how GPR3 was identified in human cells using Galapagos' platform. The article further describes the role of GPR3 in Alzheimer's disease. Inhibition of GPR3 prevented the accumulation of beta-amyloid, a protein in the brains of Alzheimer's patients that is believed to cause the disease.

The article also shows that GPR3 levels are higher in the areas of the brain that are affected in Alzheimer's patients. The activity of GPR3 can likely be inhibited with a small molecule drug. Taken together, GPR3 is a promising drug target for development of a treatment for Alzheimer's disease.

Galapagos has recently been awarded U.S. patent 7,429,459 for the use of GPR3 in screening for Alzheimer's drugs. Similar patent applications are pending in Europe and other major territories. Galapagos made its Alzheimer's discovery in the same way as its novel, patent-protected targets in bone & joint disease were identified.

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