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Galapagos was founded in 1999 as a joint venture between Crucell and Tibotec. For the following 15 years, Galapagos operated a hybrid business model, combining internal discovery programs with service activities. In 2014 Galapagos sold BioFocus and Argenta to Charles River Laboratories International, Inc., giving Galapagos a sole focus on the development and execution of the now broad and deep R&D pipeline. 

In 2002 the Company raised €23.4 million in a private placement. In May 2005, the Company raised €22.4 million through an initial public offering on Euronext Brussels and Amsterdam (ticker symbol: GLPG). Galapagos raised an additional capital through private placements in the following years, and a further €4.4 million through an equity investment by GlaxoSmithKline in 2007. Euronext Liffe initiated trading in options for the Galapagos ordinary share on 30 April 2013, under the ticker symbol GLS. Galapagos listed on the US NASDAQ (ticker symbol: GLPG) in May 2015, raising an additional €279 million gross proceeds in a concurrent private placement.

In 2006, Galapagos acquired ProSkelia in Romainville, France, from ProStrakan via an all-share transaction. With ProSkelia, Galapagos obtained R&D operations and a product portfolio of products focused on musculoskeletal diseases (osteoporosis, cachexia and bone metastasis). In 2010, Galapagos acquired the Zagreb research operations from GSK. This site started as an internal outsourcing center but was later refocused to become a drug discovery fee-for-service business. Renamed Fidelta, the Zagreb operation has achieved profitability.

Over the years, Galapagos entered into long-term alliances for several of its research programs with top pharma companies. These risk-sharing alliances enabled Galapagos to build a pipeline of more than 30 programs, based predominantly on proprietary targets that we have identified. While our pipeline today has a growing share of fully proprietary candidates, including our entire IPF franchise, risk-sharing alliances continue with Gilead, Servier, and Novartis. Through these alliances, Galapagos is eligible to receive substantial success-dependent milestone revenue plus up to double-digit royalties on commercial products, and geographic rights in certain alliances.

In 2019, Galapagos entered into a transformative 10-year global research and development collaboration with Gilead.