New setback for Galapagos | The time

New setback for Galapagos | The time
New setback for Galapagos | The time

October 16, 2020
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The Mechelen biotech company is halting its research into a drug against knee osteoarthritis.


and the French Serbian have been looking for an arthrosis medication together since 2010. A study with 932 patients (phase 2) now shows that the drug – under the code name GLPG1972 – does not work.

The patients were followed up for a year. The hope was that the treatment could reduce or stop the cartilage loss in the knee, but that was not the case. “There was no significant difference between the patients who received the drug and the placebo,” it says.

This is not what we were hoping for.

Walid Adi-Saab

Head of Galapagos Research

While this result is not what we were hoping for, this study adds to our understanding of osteoarthritis, a disease for which a significant medical need remains, said Walid Abi-Saab, Chief Medical Officer at Galapagos.

When the cooperation was signed, it was reported at the time that Galapagos could count on some 300 million euros in payments from Servier in the long term. About twenty million have already poured in, but CEO Onno Van De Stolpe no longer has to count on the rest.

Osteoarthritis remains a difficult area of ​​disease to tackle. There are means to combat osteoarthritis pain, but drugs that solve the problem are still insufficient. In osteoarthritis or osteoarthritis, the cartilage between the bones disappears and can rub against each other.

Do not panic

Analysts did not yet take this one study into account much in their valuation models.


small impact

Beurshuis UBS put a value of just over 100 million euros on the research, so little compared to the 7.7 billion euros in stock market value.

They estimate the chance of success to be quite low. The UBS stock exchange placed a value of just over 100 million euros on the research. At Jefferies that was 300 million euros, but that too little compared to the current 7.7 billion euros stock market value.

So the termination of the investigation is not an insurmountable problem, but a boost would have been welcome.

Previous setback

The Galapagos share price has halved exactly since its peak in February. The contrast with the wonder year 2019 (see graph) is big. Galapagos is no longer the most valuable biotech company in the Low Countries. That honor now goes to Argenx in Ghent.

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