Galera Therapeutics Reports First Quarter 2020 Financial Results and Provides Business Updates

Galera Therapeutics
ROMAN Phase 3 Trial Topline Data Readout Guidance Updated to 2H21 Due to Impact of COVID-19

MALVERN, PA — Galera Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: GRTX), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing a pipeline of novel, proprietary therapeutics that have the potential to transform radiotherapy in cancer, today announced financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2020, and provided business updates.

“Despite these unprecedented times, we have continued to progress patient enrollment in our three ongoing clinical trials of lead candidate avasopasem manganese (GC4419),” said Mel Sorensen, M.D., President and CEO of Galera. “The COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the initiation of our Phase 2a trial in Europe in patients with head and neck cancer indefinitely, which we planned to start in the first half of this year. As a result, we are increasing the size of the Phase 3 ROMAN trial for the treatment of severe oral mucositis (SOM) in patients with locally advanced head and neck cancer to ensure we are positioned to achieve our targeted number of patients for the NDA safety database, and are updating our guidance for completing enrollment to the first half of 2021 and for reporting topline data to the second half of 2021. Investigator enthusiasm remains high and we are confident in our ability to complete our ongoing trials and maintain our supply chain. In addition, we’re pleased to announce that we added $37.5 million in funding under our amended royalty agreement with Blackstone Life Sciences (formerly Clarus Ventures) which further strengthens our financial foundation and extends our cash runway into the second half of 2022.”

“In the near term, we are looking forward to avasopasem data being presented at ASCO, and are preparing to initiate an anti-cancer efficacy trial of our second product candidate, GC4711, in combination with stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in the second half of this year. We will continue to carefully monitor the COVID-19 situation and remain committed to thoughtfully executing our clinical programs to realize the potential of our pipeline in addressing radiation toxicities and improving the anti-cancer effect of radiation while prioritizing the health and safety of our partners and trial participants.”

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Clinical Program Updates

Galera will continue to assess the rapidly evolving impacts of COVID-19 on clinical programs and operations.

Radiation-induced toxicity clinical trials:

  • Updated guidance for topline data from the Phase 3 ROMAN clinical trial of avasopasem for the treatment of SOM in patients with locally advanced head and neck cancer receiving radiotherapy to the second half of 2021. COVID-19 has delayed the initiation of the Phase 2a multi-center trial in Europe in patients with head and neck cancer indefinitely. This trial was expected to enroll up to 70 patients and contribute to the safety database for avasopasem for SOM in head and neck cancer. As a result, in order to ensure the Company is positioned to maintain the size of the safety database, the ROMAN trial target enrollment has been increased to 450 patients.
  • Continued enrollment in the Phase 2a clinical trial of avasopasem to evaluate its ability to reduce the incidence of radiation-induced esophagitis in patients with lung cancer.

Anti-cancer efficacy clinical trials:

  • Reaffirmed guidance for topline data from the pilot Phase 1b/2a safety and anti-cancer efficacy clinical trial of avasopasem in combination with SBRT in patients with locally advanced pancreatic cancer in the second half of 2020.
  • Reaffirmed guidance for initiation of a Phase 1b/2a trial of GC4711 with SBRT in non-small cell lung cancer in the second half of 2020. GC4711 is Galera’s second small molecule superoxide dismutase mimetic being developed to increase the anti-cancer efficacy of radiotherapy. This trial will evaluate GC4711 in combination with SBRT and with SBRT plus concurrent checkpoint inhibitor therapy in approximately 75 patients. A primary objective of the trial will be to assess the effects of GC4711 on measures of pneumonitis, or inflammation of the lungs. Other key objectives will include safety, local tumor control, distant metastasis rate, progression-free survival and overall survival.
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Corporate Updates

  • In May 2020, entered into an amendment to the 2018 royalty purchase agreement with Blackstone Life Sciences, which adds $37.5 million in additional funding to the existing $80 million royalty financing commitment that Blackstone Life Sciences (formerly Clarus Ventures) made in 2018. Under the updated agreement terms, they have agreed to pay Blackstone up to high single-digit percentage future commercial royalties from the sales of avasopasem and GC4711 until the total royalty amount achieves an unchanged fixed single-digit multiple of the aggregate financing sum received, upon which the royalty terminates. Additional information regarding this amendment is included in a Form 8-K filed by the Company with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on May 12, 2020.
  • In April 2020, announced three abstracts regarding avasopasem were accepted for presentation at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2020 Virtual Scientific Program, taking place May 29-31, 2020. The titles of the abstracts are currently available in the ASCO digital program, with the full abstracts scheduled to be published on May 13, 2020. As previously announced, this includes the presentation titled “Effects of GC4419 (avasopasem manganese) on chronic kidney disease in head and neck cancer patients treated with radiation and cisplatin.”
  • In April 2020, announced the appointment of Linda B. West to their board of directors. Ms. West brings nearly 40 years of business experience to Galera’s board of directors, having served in multiple leadership roles of increasing responsibility for E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (DuPont) until her retirement in 2019.
  • In March 2020, implemented a work-from-home policy for office-based employees for the safety of employees and their families and to reduce the spread of COVID-19, while ensuring essential staffing levels in their operations remain in place, including maintaining key personnel in their laboratory.

First Quarter 2020 Financial Highlights

  • Research and development expenses were $14.3 million in the first quarter of 2020, compared to $8.5 million for the same period in 2019. The increase was primarily attributable to avasopasem development costs due to greater patient enrollment and additional clinical site initiations in the Phase 3 ROMAN trial, additional clinical trials including the Phase 2a trial for the treatment of esophagitis in patients with lung cancer, initiation of additional toxicology studies and costs associated with manufacturing scale-up activities. Employee-related costs also increased due to increased headcount and share-based compensation expense.
  • General and administrative expenses were $3.6 million in the first quarter of 2020, compared to $1.9 million for the same period in 2019. The increase was primarily the result of employee-related costs from increased headcount and share-based compensation expense, and increased insurance, professional fees and other operating costs as a result of becoming a public company.
  • Galera reported a net loss of $(18.4) million, or $(0.74) per share, for the first quarter of 2020, compared to a net loss of $(10.3) million, or $(41.12) per share, for the same period in 2019.
  • As of March 31, 2020, Galera had cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments of $120.5 million. Galera expects that its existing cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments, together with the expected payments from Blackstone in the amount of $57.5 million upon the achievement of certain clinical enrollment milestones in the ROMAN trial and the anti-cancer program in combination with SBRT under the amended royalty agreement, will enable Galera to fund its operating expenses and capital expenditure requirements into the second half of 2022.
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