Galapagos discontinues lupus CAR-T program, reduces workforce

Feb. 23, 2024

Belgium-based biotech Galapagos disclosed its full-year 2023 financials this week, providing pipeline updates on key programs, which included axing its CAR-T lupus candidate.

While Galapagos shared promising data from its ongoing phase 1/2 studies on CD19 CAR-T product candidates, including expansions in oncology portfolio and strategic collaborations, the company also faced pipeline cuts and the initiation of approximately 100 layoffs to streamline operations. According to Galapagos, the layoffs aligned with the company's "renewed focus on innovation."

The decision to halt development of the Galapagos' CD19 CAR-T candidate for refractory systemic lupus erythematosus was made for "strategic reasons."

Financially, Galapagos reported an operating loss of $99.9 million from continuing operations, coupled with a net loss of $5.6 million. Looking ahead, Galapagos aims for a reduced cash burn in 2024 and plans to advance its CAR-T studies while exploring additional opportunities in immunology and oncology. 

The biotech is no stranger to streamlining efforts. Back in 2022, the Galapagos unveiled a new organizational strategy called “Forward, Faster,” which aimed to focus the company on three pillar areas: a shift from novel target-based discovery to patient-centric research specifically for immunology and oncology, an investment in its current drug modalities including CAR-T, and an increase on its business development efforts. The process claimed 200 positions across European sites.