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Risks related to product development and regulatory approval

Operating procedures, monitoring and prioritizing product candidates

We operate adequate standard operating procedures to secure the integrity and protection of our research and development activities and results, and the optimum allocation of our R&D budgets. The progress of the most important research and development programs is continuously monitored by our Executive Committee, they are discussed with the Board of Directors at least once per quarter, and the members of our Board of Directors with expertise in clinical and scientific matters occasionally attend meetings with our scientific staff to discuss and assess such programs. 

Nevertheless, we must and have in the past and during the financial year 2023 decided to prioritize the development of certain product candidates; these decisions may prove to have been wrong and may adversely affect our business.

Strongly dependent on the success of clinical product candidates and the discovery portfolio

We are heavily dependent on the success of our product candidates, such as GLPG5101, GLPG5201, GLPG5301 and GLPG3667. As of year-end 2022, we implemented a new innovation R&D model focusing on the therapeutic areas of oncology and immunology. Following the strategic review announced in August 2023, we transferred the commercial, medical affairs and development activities regarding filgotinib to Alfasigma in January 2024.

In addition, we are heavily investing in an early-stage product candidate pipeline, including small molecules and oncology preclinical candidates, and these drug candidates must undergo rigorous preclinical and clinical testing, the results of which are uncertain and could substantially delay or prevent the drug candidates from reaching the market. 

New and complex innovative cell therapies

Through the acquisitions of CellPoint and AboundBio, we gained access to an innovative, scalable, decentralized and automated point-of-care CAR-T cell therapy supply model as well as a fully human antibody-based therapeutics platform. We are heavily investing in building our therapeutic area of oncology, whereby cell therapies are novel, complex, and difficult to manufacture and require rigorous preclinical and clinical testing, the results of which are uncertain.

We cannot give any assurance that any product candidate will successfully complete clinical trials or receive regulatory approval, which is necessary before it can be commercialized.

Unpredictable commercial viability of the product candidates

Our business and future success is substantially dependent on our ability to develop successfully, obtain regulatory approval for, and then successfully commercialize our product candidates. We are not permitted to market or promote any of our product candidates before we receive regulatory approval from the FDA, the EMA, the MHRA, the MHLW or any other comparable regulatory authority, and we may never receive such regulatory approval for any of our product candidates. We cannot give any assurances that our clinical trials for our product candidates, including our CD19 CAR-T product candidates, will be completed in a timely manner, or at all. If any of our product candidates are not approved and commercialized in certain jurisdictions, we will not be able to generate any product revenues for that product candidate.

Lengthy, time-consuming regulatory processes

The regulatory approval processes of the FDA, the EMA, the MHRA, the MHLW and other comparable regulatory authorities are lengthy, time-consuming and inherently unpredictable, and if we are ultimately unable to obtain regulatory approval for our product candidates, our business, including its financial condition, will be substantially harmed.

Expensive clinical development process with uncertain outcome

Clinical testing is expensive and can take many years to complete, and its outcome is inherently uncertain. Results of earlier studies and trials as well as data from any interim analysis of ongoing clinical trials may not be predictive of future trial results, and failure can occur at any time during the clinical trial process. If we experience delays in the completion of, or termination of, any clinical trial of our product candidates, the commercial prospects of our product candidates will be harmed, and our ability to generate product revenues from any of these product candidates will be delayed. If any of our product candidates are found to be unsafe or have a lack of efficacy, we will not be able to obtain or maintain regulatory approval for it and our business would be materially harmed.

Patient enrollment influence

The rates at which we complete our scientific studies and clinical trials depend on many factors, including, but not limited to, patient enrollment. Patient enrollment is a significant factor in the timing of clinical trials and is affected by many factors including competing clinical trials, clinicians’ and patients’ perceptions as to the potential advantages of the drug being studied in relation to other available therapies and the relatively limited number of patients. Any of these occurrences may harm our clinical trials and by extension, our business, financial condition and prospects.

Product candidates may cause undesirable side effects or serious adverse events

Our product candidates may cause undesirable or unacceptable side effects or have other properties that could delay or prevent their regulatory approval, limit the commercial profile of an approved label, or result in significant negative consequences following marketing approval, if any. Undesirable side effects caused by our product candidates could cause us or regulatory authorities to interrupt, delay or halt clinical trials and could result in a more restrictive label or the delay or denial of regulatory approval by the FDA, the EMA, the MHRA, the MHLW or other comparable regulatory authorities. The drug-related side effects could affect patient recruitment or the ability of enrolled patients to complete the trial or result in potential product liability claims. Any of these occurrences may harm our business, financial condition and prospects significantly and may adversely impact the viability of our other product candidates or preclinical programs.

Patients receiving T cell-based immunotherapies may experience serious adverse events, including neurotoxicity and cytokine release syndrome. Serious adverse events or undesirable side effects associated with our CAR-T product candidates may result in delays, clinical holds, or terminations of our preclinical or clinical trials, impact our ability to obtain regulatory or marketing approval, and impact the commercial potential of such product candidates, which would significantly harm our business, financial condition and prospects.

Public perception may be influenced by claims that cell therapy, including cell editing technologies, is unsafe, or unethical, and research activities and adverse events in the field, even if not ultimately attributable to us or our CAR-T product candidates, could result in increased governmental regulation, unfavorable public perception, challenges in recruiting patients to participate in our clinical studies, potential regulatory delays in the testing or approval of our CAR-T product candidates, labeling restrictions for any future approved CAR-T products, and a decrease in demand for any such product. For example, in November 2023, the FDA announced that it would be conducting an investigation into reports of T-cell malignancies following BCMA-directed or CD19-directed autologous CAR-T cell immunotherapies following reports of T-cell lymphoma in patients receiving these therapies. The FDA also stated that patients and clinical trial participants receiving treatment with the currently approved BCMA-directed and CD19-directed genetically modified autologous CAR-T cell immunotherapy products should be monitored life-long for new malignancies. In January 2024, the FDA determined that new safety information related to T-cell malignancies should be included in the labeling with boxed warning language on these malignancies for all BCMA- and CD-19-directed genetically modified autologous T-cell immunotherapies. Additionally, EMA’s PRAC started a signal procedure to review data on secondary malignancies related to T-cells (cancers that begin in a type of white blood cells called T-cells), including T-cell lymphoma and leukemia, for the six approved CAR-T cell medicines. More restrictive government regulations or negative public opinion would have a negative effect on our business or financial condition and may delay or impair the development and commercialization of our CAR-T product candidates or demand for any approved products. 

If we are not able to obtain orphan product exclusivity, or maintain such status for future product candidates for which we seek this status, or if our competitors are able to obtain orphan product exclusivity before we do, we may not be able to obtain approval for our competing products for a significant period of time. Even if we are able to obtain orphan designation, we may not be the first to obtain marketing approval for such indication due to the uncertainties associated with developing pharmaceutical products. Orphan drug designation neither shortens the development time or regulatory review time of a drug nor gives the drug any advantage in the regulatory review or approval process.

Extensive ongoing regulatory requirements

If the FDA, EMA, or any other comparable regulatory authority approves any of our product candidates, the manufacturing processes, distribution, adverse event reporting, storage, advertising, and recordkeeping for the product will be subject to extensive and ongoing regulatory requirements. These requirements include submissions of safety and other post-marketing information and reports, registration requirements and continued compliance with current good manufacturing practices, or cGMPs, and good clinical practices, or GCPs, for any clinical trials that we conduct post-approval. For example, the FDA stated in its January 2024 final guidance document titled “Considerations for the Development of Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T Cell Products” that subjects in clinical trials treated with CAR-T cells containing an integrated transgene should be monitored for 15 years after treatment. Failure to comply with the aforementioned practices may harm our clinical trials or regulatory process and by extension, our business, financial condition and prospects.

Before we can begin to commercially manufacture our product candidates for human therapeutics, the FDA must review for the applicable manufacturing process and facilities as part of its review of our marketing application. This will likely require the manufacturing facilities to pass a pre-approval inspection by the FDA. A manufacturing authorization must also be obtained from the appropriate EU regulatory authorities or other comparable regulatory authorities.

We must establish and maintain a pharmacovigilance system, including a qualified person responsible for oversight, submit safety reports to the regulators and comply with the good pharmacovigilance practice guidelines adopted by the relevant regulatory authorities. Failure to comply with these guidelines may harm our clinical trials or regulatory process and by extension, our business.

A blood protein produced in response to and counteracting a specific antigen. Antibodies combine chemically with substances which the body recognizes as alien, such as bacteria, viruses, and foreign substances
B cell maturation antigen (BCMA) is a member of the tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily that plays an important role in regulating B-cell proliferation and survival. BCMA is central to the survival of multiple myeloma cells
Chimeric antigen receptor T cells (also known as CAR-T cells) are T cells that have been genetically engineered to produce an artificial T cell receptor for use in immunotherapy
CD19 is a protein found on the surface of B-cells, a type of white blood cell. Since CD19 is a hallmark of B-cells, the protein has been used to diagnose cancers that arise from this type of cell, notably B-cell lymphomas
Cell therapy
Cell therapy aims to treat diseases by restoring or altering certain sets of cells or by using cells to carry a therapy through the body. With cell therapy, cells are cultivated or modified outside the body before being injected into the patient. The cells may originate from the patient (autologous cells) or a donor (allogeneic cells)
Crohn's disease (CD)
An IBD involving inflammation of the small and large intestines, leading to pain, bleeding, and ultimately in some cases surgical removal of parts of the bowel
Cytokine release syndrome (CRS)
Condition that develops when your immune system responds too aggressively to infection or after certain types of immunotherapy, such as CAR-T-cell therapy
European Medicines Agency, in charge of European market authorization of new medications
Effectiveness for intended use
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is an agency responsible for protecting and promoting public health and in charge of American market approval of new medications
Formerly known as GLPG0634, commercial name is Jyseleca®. Small molecule preferential JAK1 inhibitor, approved in RA and UC in the European Union, Great-Britain and Japan. Phase 4 studies in both RA and UC are ongoing
A TYK2 kinase inhibitor discovered by us, topline results from the Phase 1b in psoriasis reported in July 2021
A second generation anti-CD19/4-1BB CAR-T product candidate currently in Phase 1/2 study in rrNHL
A second generation anti-CD19/4-1BB CAR-T product candidate currently in Phase 1/2 study in rrCLL/SLL with or wthout RT
A BCMA CAR-T product candidate
The study of the immune system and is a very important branch of the medical and biological sciences. The immune system protects humans from infection through various lines of defence. If the immune system is not functioning as it should, it can result in disease, such as autoimmunity, allergy, and cancer
Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW), in charge of Japanese market authorization of new medications
Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency in Great Britain
Field of medicine that deal with the diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and early detection of cancer
Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee of the European Medicines Agency, responsible for assessing all aspects of risk management of human medicines
Drug treatment is provided close to or near the patient
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