Abbott has teamed up with Galapagos to develop and commercialise an oral, next-generation Janus kinases (JAK) inhibitor, GLPG0634, in Phase II development to treat multiple autoimmune diseases.

GLPG0634 is a selective JAK1 inhibitor that is under development for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and other autoimmune diseases.

Under the agreement, Abbott will make an initial upfront payment of $150m for rights related to the global collaboration, and Galapagos will retain co-promotion rights in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Following successful completion of the RA Phase II studies, Abbott will license the programme for a one-time fee of $200m, assuming sole responsibility for Phase III clinical development and global manufacturing.

In addition to tiered double-digit royalties on net sales upon commercialisation, Galapagos will be eligible to receive additional milestone payments from Abbott, amounting to $1bn, pending achievement of certain developmental, regulatory, commercial and sales-based milestones.

Abbott global research and development senior vice president John Leonard said: "The addition of this novel, oral compound offers patients the potential for advanced treatment options and an improved patient experience to address RA and other autoimmune diseases."

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Leonard added: "Abbott’s expertise in immunology, combined with a robust portfolio of investigational treatments, represents promising innovation across several areas of medical need."

Galapagos chief executive officer Onno van de Stolpe said they expect to deliver to Abbott a complete Phase II package in 2014.

"With GLPG0634 we have proven that we can deliver from target to clinical Proof of Concept, and we aim to do the same on many novel target programs in our pipeline," Stolpe added.

In the previous four-week Phase IIa study, GLPG0634 demonstrated efficacy measures with few side effects.

The companies plan to commence an additional Phase IIa dose-range finding study with GLPG0634.