Our OA program

Our OA program
CSR report

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 knees, hips, lower back and neck, the small joints of the fingers, and the bases of the thumb and big toe. In 2018, about 93 million patients were diagnosed with OA in the U.S., EU5 and Japan.1Sources: Decision Resources Group, Global Data, Galapagos Custom Research

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 are formed which 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.

Although OA occurs in people of all ages, it is most common in people older than 65 years. Common risk factors include obesity, previous joint injury, over-use 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 the age of 85. Current treatments for OA include weight loss, physical therapy, pain and anti-inflammatory medicines, and surgery, all of which only address the symptoms of the disease. There are currently no disease-modifying therapies available for OA.

GLPG1972/S201086, also referred to as GLPG1972, is a drug candidate developed by us under our collaboration agreement with Servier. GLPG1972 acts on ADAMTS-5, a key aggrecanase involved in the breakdown of aggrecan in joint cartilage. ADAMTS-5 has been validated in the literature in both animal models and human explants, and ARGS, a byproduct of the cartilage breakdown action of ADAMTS-5, has been shown to be elevated in the joints of OA patients.

In a Phase 1b trial in OA patients in the U.S., GLPG1972 reduced the ARGS neo-epitope, a cartilage breakdown biomarker measured in the serum, by over 50% over a four-week period:

Strong reduction of ARGS

‘1972 Ph1b study in OA patients

Strong reduction of ARGS (line chart)

Based on these results, we and our collaboration partner Servier advanced GLPG1972 to a Phase 2b trial, ROCCELLA, the start of which was announced in June 2018.

ROCCELLA Phase 2b trial

ROCCELLA Phase 2b trial (graphic)
  • 850 patients with knee osteoarthritis, recruited globally
  • Primary endpoint: reduction in cartilage loss at week 52
  • Secondary endpoints: change in structural and clinical parameters, safety/tolerability

ROCCELLA is a multiregional, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, dose ranging trial evaluating the efficacy and safety of three different once-daily oral doses of GLPG1972 in patients with knee OA. The trial is planned to recruit approximately 850 patients in up to 15 countries. We are responsible for ROCCELLA in the U.S., where we retain full commercial rights, and Servier is running the trial in all other countries.

The primary objective of ROCCELLA is to evaluate the efficacy of at least one dose of GLPG1972 compared to placebo in reducing cartilage loss after 52 weeks of treatment. Cartilage thickness will be measured using quantitative magnetic resonance imaging of the central medial tibiofemoral compartment of the target knee. Secondary objectives include safety and tolerability, several additional measures of structural progression, changes in bone area, pain, function, stiffness, and patient global assessment.

We and Servier completed recruitment of ROCCELLA in June 2019, and we expect topline data in H2 2020.

Under the terms of agreement with Servier, we are eligible to receive milestones and single-digit royalties on potential commercial sales by Servier for GLPG1972. Gilead has an option to in-license the U.S. commercial rights for GLGP1972 following completion of the ROCCELLA trial. See also further details on the collaboration with Gilead in the Notes to the consolidated financial statements.

1 Source: Decision Resources Group, Global Data, Galapagos Custom Research