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Our SIK program

The Salt-Inducible Kinases (SIK) belong to a novel class of targets with immune-modulatory function discovered in an inflammation phenotypic cell assay with our proprietary target discovery platform. The search, identification, and validation for this novel class of targets started with the ambition to find novel druggable targets with a differentiating mechanism-of-action to develop new therapeutic candidates demonstrating an improved efficacy and safety profile relative to existing therapies. Although significant progress has been made with novel therapies in recent years, for instance in psoriasis, the unmet need to manage chronic inflammatory diseases related to joints, the bowel, and other organs remains an important objective in public health.

The SIK family, which includes 3 members SIK1, SIK2, and SIK3, has been shown to contribute to biologic pathways across multiple immune cells. SIK inhibition has the potential to reduce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines coupled with enhanced production of immunoregulatory mediators. This unique mechanism-of-action offers the potential to restore the immune balance that is typically out of balance in autoimmune diseases, and differentiate product candidates from existing therapies that predominantly act by suppressing the immune system.

We have been focusing our medicinal chemistry efforts on these targets, delivering over 5,000 synthesized molecules, and more than 11 different chemical series with different SIK-isoform selectivity profiles. The first lead molecule from this program, GLPG3970, a selective SIK2/SIK3 inhibitor, has demonstrated a response across several disease models that has led to the investigation of a series of early-stage clinical trials in psoriasis (CALOSOMA), UC (SEA TURTLE), and RA (LADYBUG). The topline results for GLPG3970 were announced in July 2021.

Thorough analysis of clinical endpoints and exploratory biomarker research has confirmed meaningful signals of biological activity in psoriasis and UC patients despite short treatment duration and suboptimal PK properties. A second candidate, GLPG4399, selective for SIK3, was tested in a Phase 1 healthy volunteer study but will not be further pursued for clinical development.

SIK portfolio outlook

From the clinical studies described above we learned that the SIK pathway has the potential to play an important role in inflammation and confirms the therapeutic potential of SIK inhibitors in inflammatory diseases. Although we will not progress GLPG3970 and GLPG4399 further into clinical development, the study results are an essential part of the broad evidence package that we are assembling on our SIK program. This strengthens our understanding of the best approach going forward. We are currently performing medicinal chemistry activities with the goal to start preclinical development with a selective SIK inhibitor later in 2023.

Biological therapeutics, also referred to as Biologicals, are those class of medicines which are grown and then purified from large-scale cell cultures of bacteria or yeast, or plant or animal cells. Biologicals are a diverse group of medicines which includes vaccines, growth factors, immune modulators, monoclonal antibodies, as well as products derived from human blood and plasma. What distinguishes biologicals from other medicines is that these are generally proteins purified from living culture systems or from blood, whereas other medicines are considered as 'small molecules' and are either made synthetically or purified from plants
Substance used as an indicator of a biological process, particularly to determine whether a product candidate has a biological effect
Phase 1 program with GLPG3970 in psoriasis
A category of small proteins which play important roles in signaling in processes in the body
All activities required to bring a new drug to the market. This includes preclinical and clinical development research, chemical and pharmaceutical development and regulatory filings of product candidates
Effectiveness for intended use
A SIK2/3 inhibitor evaluated in multiple Phase 2 proof-of-concept studies. Topline results from the studies in UC, psoriasis and RA were reported in July 2021. The compound was discontinued in March 2022
A SIK3 inhibitor in Phase 1 directed toward inflammation. The developent was halted in 2022
Pharmacokinetics (PK)
Study of what a body does to a drug; the fate of a substance delivered to a body. This includes absorption, distribution to the tissues, metabolism and excretion. These processes determine the blood concentration of the drug and its metabolite(s) as a function of time from dosing
Phase 1
First stage of clinical testing of an investigational drug designed to assess the safety and tolerability, pharmacokinetics of a drug, usually performed in a small number of healthy human volunteers
Stage of drug research development, undertaken prior to the administration of the drug to humans. Consists of in vitro and in vivo screening, pharmacokinetics, toxicology, and chemical upscaling
Product candidate
Substance that has satisfied the requirements of early preclinical testing and has been selected for development, starting with formal preclinical safety evaluation followed by clinical testing for the treatment of a certain disorder in humans
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
A chronic, systemic inflammatory disease that causes joint inflammation, and usually leads to cartilage destruction, bone erosion and disability
Phase 2 program with GLPG3970 in ulcerative colitis
Salt-inducible kinase
Protein that has been shown to play a role in a disease process and that forms the basis of a therapeutic intervention or discovery of a medicine
Target discovery
Identification and validation of proteins that have been shown to play a role in a disease process
Ulcerative colitis (UC)
UC is an IBD causing chronic inflammation of the lining of the colon and rectum (unlike CD with inflammation throughout the gastrointestinal tract)