Merck Belgium's Galapagos says it's inked a deal with Merck in which Galapagos will use its SilenceSelect target discovery platform to identify inflammatory disease targets. Galapagos will receive an upfront fee of €2.5 million from Merck.

The company could also earn discovery, development and regulatory milestone payments exceeding €192 million, in addition to sales milestones and royalties for any commercialized products. In total, Galapagos could earn more than $251.7 million from the deal.

Galapagos will be responsible for the discovery and pre-clinical development of new small molecule candidate drugs. Merck will have the exclusive option to license each candidate for development, though Galapagos will retain rights to develop any compounds Merck chooses not to pursue.

"This new alliance with Merck in inflammatory diseases, our sixth pharma alliance to date, underscores the quality and versatility of Galapagos' target discovery platform," said Onno van de Stolpe, CEO. "Galapagos has proven it delivers on its alliance programs, making us attractive to potential pharma partners seeking to fill their pipelines with medicines based on novel modes of action."