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Gilead, Galapagos spine disease drug succeeds in phase 2 study

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Gilead Sciences Inc. and Galapagos NV said a mid-stage study of filgotinib in patients with a type of inflammatory spine disease met its main goal.

The phase 2 study, dubbed Tortuga, evaluated the drug versus to placebo in 116 patients with moderately to severely active ankylosing spondylitis, or AS.

According to results, patients who received the drug showed significant improvements based on a measure called AS disease activity score.

Ankylosing spondylitis, a type of arthritis affecting the spine, causes pain and stiffness in the neck and back. There is currently no known cure for the disease, but therapies to alleviate the symptoms and manage pain are available.

Side effects of the therapy ranged from mild to moderate and were reported in an equal proportion of patients given filgotinib and those given placebo.

Foster City, Calif.-based Gilead Sciences and Mechelen, Belgium-based Galapagos are collaborating to commercialize filgotinib for various inflammatory diseases, including psoriatic arthritis, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

The companies said they will submit detailed results from the Tortuga trial for a future scientific conference.