Johnson & Johnson Pulls Out Of Program To Develop Bowel Disease Drug

Published: Dec 16, 2014

Johnson & Johnson Pulls Out Of Program To Develop Bowel Disease Drug

December 16, 2014

By Krystle Vermes, Breaking News Staff

Belgian biotechnology company Galapagos announced today that Janssen Pharmaceutica had pulled out of its program to develop a drug for the treatment of bowel disease. Janssen, a unit of Johnson & Johnson , has forfeited its rights to the GPR84 program and GLPG1205.

Since the announcement, Galapagos has stated that it will continue with a Phase II study of its own on patients with inflammatory bowel disease ulcerative colitis. No further details on the deal termination have been released.

GLPG1205 is a novel mechanism created by Galapagos for the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases. The company presented pre-clinical evidence earlier this year that showed that the mechanism played a key role in IBD pathology.

G-coupled protein receptor 84, or GPR84, is a fatty acid protein involved in the regulation of macrophages, monocytes and neutrophils in the immune system. Galapagos has determined that GPR84 plays a key role in inflammatory disease patients. Researchers were able to confirm this through in-vitro models.

The Debut of GPR84
Galapagos disclosed the positive results of its phase 1 study of GPR84 at United European Gastroenterology Week in October. The company revealed the data of the study in a presentation titled, “GPR84, a novel target for the development of therapies in IBD.”

In its presentation, Galapagos addressed clinical evidence that showed how GPR84 was linked to IBD pathology. The selective antagonist of GPR84 led to the development of GLPG1205, which showed strong efficacy in pre-clinical trials as well.

Galapagos originally announced its deal with Janssen Pharmaceutica back in 2007. Within the deal, Galapagos was still responsible for the phrase 1 and phase 2a studies with compounds in the agreement.

The Development of GLPG0634 and GLPG0974
At the annual meeting of the European Crohn’s and Colitis Organization back in February, Galapagos debuted GLPG0634 and GLPG0974. GLPG0634 is a JAK inhibitor – JAKs are components of signaling mechanisms used by cytokines and growth factors, including those in Crohn’s patients. Thus far, it has shown strong efficacy in pre-clinical trials.

GLPG0974 is a small molecule that can be ingested orally to reduce the migration of neutrophils. Neutrophils are one of the critical cell types in inflammatory processes.

At the European Crohn’s and Colitis Organization meeting, Galapagos displayed information posters at the event to share more information on GLPG0974 and GLPG0634, which are still being studied.

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