Our commitment to inflammation

At Galapagos we believe we can have a meaningful impact on the lives of millions of people who currently live with an inflammatory disease and we are driven by the opportunity to make a real difference.

Our commitment to inflammation is rooted in our history

We were established over 20 years ago as a target discovery biotech company and our approach to drug discovery was modelled on inflammatory diseases because we believe this remains one of the greatest areas of unmet therapeutic need.

We push the limits of what we think is possible in discovering new medicines to tackle chronic diseases that can change the lives of patients who suffer from them.

Read more about our commitment to beating inflammation here. No time to spare? Have look at our onepager.

We dream big so patients can do the same

This has led us to challenge our knowledge of inflammatory diseases, be guided by the science and build our expertise in potential treatment pathways. Our ambitious spirit and desire to be the ones to bring our medicines to patients, has seen us evolve from a pure discovery company to an integrated European Biotech.

What are autoimmune and chronic inflammatory diseases?

Autoimmune and chronic inflammatory diseases (AICIDs) occur when the body’s immune system attacks its own cells and causes an inflammatory response.1,2 Chronic inflammatory diseases are currently estimated to affect one in every 20 people in Western society.3 Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Ulcerative Colitis (UC) and Crohn’s Disease (CD) are all examples of inflammatory conditions affecting around 5 million Europeans.4,5,6

Hear the voices of people with inflammatory diseases


Discover one of the pathways causing inflammation in the body: JAK-STAT pathway

The JAK-STAT pathway is critical for important functions within the body such as homeostasis – maintaining a constant internal environment within the body. It is also however, associated with numerous chronic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

People with chronic inflammatory disease have excessive levels of proinflammatory cytokines. Cytokines bind to the receptors on the surface of immune cells and activate the Janus Kinase Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription, or JAK-STAT, pathway. Activation of the pathway triggers the production of greater levels of proinflammatory cytokines perpetuating a cycle of chronic inflammation.7,8,9

Inflammation is the process by which the immune system recruits white blood cells to attack foreign cells that may be harmful to the body. 10 An abnormal immune system response can cause these cells to attack the body’s own cells and lead to autoimmune diseases.10

Discover more about JAK inhibitors in Chronic Inflammatory Diseases in our infographic and our video on the JAK-STAT pathway below.



1 Wang, L., Wang, F. S. & Gershwin, M. E. Human autoimmune diseases: a comprehensive update. J. Intern. Med. 278, 369–395 (2015)
2 Pahwa R, Goyal A, Bansal P, et al. Chronic Inflammation. [Updated 2020 Nov 20]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493173/
3 El-Gabalawy H, Guenther LC, Bernstein CN. Epidemiology of immune-mediated inflammatory diseases: incidence, prevalence, natural history, and comorbidities. J Rheumatol Suppl. 2010 May;85:2-10. doi: 10.3899/jrheum.091461
4 Burisch J, Jess T, Martinato M, Lakatos PL; ECCO -EpiCom. The burden of inflammatory bowel disease in Europe. J Crohns Colitis. 2013 May; 7(4):322-37
5 Galloway J, Capron JP, De Leonardis F, et al. The impact of disease severity and duration on cost, early retirement and ability to work in rheumatoid arthritis in Europe: an economic modelling study. Rheumatol Adv Pract. 2020;4(2):rkaa041. Published 2020 Sep 16. doi:10.1093/rap/rkaa041
6 Taylor PC, Moore A, Vasilescu R, Alvir J, Tarallo M. A structured literature review of the burden of illness and unmet needs in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: a current perspective. Rheumatology International. 2016;36(5):685-95
7 Clark, J., et al. Discovery and Development of Janus Kinase (JAK) Inhibitors for Inflammatory Diseases. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. 2014;57,12:5023–5038. Available at: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/jm401490p. Accessed December 2021.
8 Gadina, M., et. al. Janus Kinases to Jakinibs: from basic insights to clinical practice. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2019;58(1):i4-i6. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30806710/. Accessed December 2021
9 Schwartz, D. M., et al. Type I/II cytokines, JAKs, and new strategies for treating autoimmune diseases. Nature reviews. Rheumatology. 2016;12(1):25–36. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1038/nrrheum. Accessed December 2021
10 Informed Health. What is inflammation? 2010. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279298 [Accessed July 2021]