Our OA program

Sometimes called degenerative joint disease or degenerative arthritis, OA is the most common chronic condition of the joints. OA can affect any joint, but it occurs most often in the small joints of the fingers, knees, hips, lower back and neck, and the bases of the thumb and big toe.6 According to GlobalData, OA will be the fourth leading cause of disability by the year 2020. There are limited data on the total prevalence of OA. GlobalData estimates that diagnosed cases will grow from approximately 117 million cases in 2016 to approximately 131 million cases by 2024, with cases affecting hand, knee, and hip in that order of prevalence.

In normal joints, a firm, rubbery material called cartilage covers the end of each bone. Cartilage provides a smooth, gliding surface for joint motion and acts as a cushion between the bones. In OA, the cartilage breaks down, causing pain, swelling and problems moving the joint. As OA worsens over time, bones may break down and develop growths called spurs. Bits of bone or cartilage may chip off and float around in the joint. In the body, an inflammatory process occurs and cytokines (proteins) and enzymes develop that further damage the cartilage. In the final stages of OA, the cartilage wears away and bone rubs against bone leading to joint damage and more pain.1From website of the Arthritis Foundation (arthritis.org)

Although OA occurs in people of all ages, it is most common in people older than 65. Common risk factors include obesity, previous joint injury, overuse of the joint, and weak thigh muscles. One in two adults will develop symptoms of knee OA during their lives. One in four adults will develop symptoms of hip OA by age 85. Current treatments for OA include weight loss, physical therapy, pain and anti-inflammatory medicines, and surgery, all of which address only the symptoms of the disease. There are currently no disease-modifying therapies available for OA, with drug sales for OA patients amounting to approximately $4 billion in generic painkillers in 2016.

GLPG1972 has a novel mode of action with potential application in OA, and was discovered by us under our collaboration agreement with Servier, a French pharmaceutical company.

In June 2016, we announced that GLPG1972, a first-in-class candidate drug aimed at treating OA, was shown to be safe and well tolerated in healthy human volunteers in a Phase 1 first-in-human trial. In this trial, dosing with GLPG1972 reduced a cartilage breakdown biomarker by up to 60% in these volunteers within two weeks. In 2017, we intend to conduct a Phase 1b patient clinical trial of GLPG1972 in the U.S., where we retained full commercial rights. Additional data resulting from the ongoing non-clinical program expected in the second quarter of 2017 will enable our collaboration partner Servier to decide on the exercise of the option to license the compound for further development into OA patient trials outside the U.S.

1 From website of the Arthritis Foundation (arthritis.org)