Galapagos NV has acquired Sareum's assets in drug discovery services, for a total cash consideration of EUR 695,000 (£553,000). These assets will position Galapagos' service division BioFocus DPI strongly in the growing field of structure-based drug discovery.

 Key step in drug discovery research is the identification of small molecules that bind to a drug target. In structure-based drug design, the three-dimensional structure of a drug target is used to guide the discovery of such small molecules. It is a rapidly growing segment of the drug discovery market, having generated molecules for approved drugs and numerous candidate drugs in clinical development.

Sareum's structure-based approach specifically makes use of x-ray crystallography to discover chemical fragments for recombination into lead compounds. This approach has proven to accelerate drug discovery in many programs, both in its internal R&D and in services contracts with top pharma clients.

Under the agreement, Galapagos has acquired all of Sareum's ongoing services contracts relating to structure-based drug discovery, the Crystal Bank (a set of protein target structures), a fragment screening library and the specialized equipment needed to perform structure-based drug discovery. This technology fits very well and will be incorporated within BioFocus DPI's capabilities in screening and medicinal chemistry, and will complement its services offering. A team of five Sareum employees will join BioFocus DPI (Chesterford Park, Saffron Walden, UK) and continue to operate the platform, securing a smooth transition of the business.

The structure based offering will contribute marginally to BioFocus DPI revenue target for 2008 and Galapagos reiterates it full year guidance of revenues between EUR 75-80 million and a year-end cash position of around EUR 25 million.