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Wall Street is buzzing about Gilead’s rheumatoid arthritis drug. Here’s why

Shares of Belgium-based biotech Galapagos NV soared 24% Friday after the company, together with pharmaceutical giant Gilead Sciences Inc., announced that two Phase 3 trials of their investigational rheumatoid arthritis drug had achieved their primary endpoints.

But what really had Wall Street excited was the drug’s safety profile. Filgotinib is an oral, selective JAK inhibitor, a class of drug that has been dogged by safety concerns. JAK inhibitors, including Eli Lilly & Co’s LLY, +0.26% Olumiant and Pfizer Inc.’s PFE, +0.19% Xeljanz, can have serious side effects, including an increased risk for serious infections, malignancies, and in Olumiant’s case, for cardiovascular events like deep vein thromboses and pulmonary embolisms.

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