Galapagos has announced three new Phase II trials to expand the indications of filgotinib, which the biotech develops in partnership with Gilead.

Galapagos’ lead candidate, filgotinib, is in Phase III for rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease, two indications with big but competitive markets. Following the recent addition of ulcerative colitis to the list of indications for filgotinib, the Belgian biotech just announced three Phase II clinical trials to test the drug in patients with Sjögren’s syndrome, ankylosing spondylitis, and psoriatic arthritis.

Filgotinib presents potential in such a wide range of indications because it targets JAK1, a protein involved in inflammatory signaling pathways. The market for inflammatory diseases is rapidly growing given that these conditions become much more common with age. In particular, the psoriatic arthritis market, expected to reach €12Bn by 2025, could bring high revenues for Galapagos and Gilead.

Galapagos filgotinib new trial

The Belgian biotech shares the name of the famous islands where Darwin made observations that led to the theory of evolution

With the expansion of its candidate’s indications, the team might outperform its competitor Eli Lilly, whose drug Olumiant (baricitinib) was approved by the EMA in February as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.

While filgotinib keeps gaining momentum, Galapagos is also advancing the development of what could be the first triple combination therapy for cystic fibrosis in collaboration with AbbVie. Two weeks ago, the company announced a new Phase I trial for a candidate that could eventually become part of a therapy that is expected to reach 90% of patients instead of the 50% achieved by Orkambi, a drug marketed by Galapagos’ competitor Vertex Pharmaceutical.

Galapagos is clearly aiming high running such a big number of trials. If everything goes according to plan, the company might establish itself as a leader in some of the most profitable markets of the coming years.


Images from jean perron, Theressa Bragg /Shutterstock

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