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, announced financial results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2020, and provided business updates.
“We continue to make great strides advancing the clinical development of our small molecule superoxide dismutase mimetics’ ability to address radiation toxicities and augment the anti-cancer efficacy of radiation,” said Mel Sorensen, M.D., President and CEO of Galera.
“We are delighted with the encouraging data from our placebo-controlled trial of GC4419 in combination with stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) for patients with locally advanced pancreatic cancer (LAPC), which were presented during a late-breaker session at the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) 2020 Annual Meeting.
“The findings are the first clinical evidence supporting our extensive preclinical science that showed synergy of our dismutase mimetics with SBRT. In this first trial with the addition of a dismutase mimetic to SBRT in patients, we observed better tumor responses, saw more patients succeed in going to surgical resection, and are particularly pleased by the initial signal in survival.
“With these promising early activity results in hand, coupled with the preliminary safety findings of the combination, we look forward to continuing to advance the potential of our dismutase mimetics to enhance the anti-cancer efficacy of SBRT and improve outcomes for cancer patients.
“We have initiated the GRECO-1 Phase 1/2 trial of GC4711 with SBRT in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and also anticipate initiating a Phase 2b trial of GC4711 with SBRT in pancreatic cancer (GRECO-2) in the first half of 2021. Our most advanced program, the ROMAN Phase 3 trial, continues to enroll well and we look forward to reporting topline results in the second half of 2021.”
Third Quarter 2020 and Recent Corporate Highlights
- In October, presented interim efficacy and safety data from the randomized, double-blind, multicenter, placebo-controlled pilot Phase 1/2 clinical trial of avasopasem manganese (GC4419) in combination with SBRT in patients with LAPC at ASTRO. In the analysis of the intent-to-treat population, multiple endpoints to date show a positive trend in favor of improved anti-cancer efficacy with avasopasem compared to placebo. While many of the patients are early in their follow-up post treatment, addition of the dismutase mimetic to SBRT appears to improve overall survival (OS) versus placebo (HR=0.4, 95% CI: 0.12-1.11; median OS not yet reached for avasopasem vs. 38.7 weeks for placebo; p=0.06). Best overall response within the SBRT field was partial response, according to modified RECIST criteria, or better in 33% of avasopasem patients versus 17% of placebo patients. Five patients in the avasopasem arm and two in the placebo arm were surgically resected. Among the resected avasopasem patients, all five achieved clear margins (R0), compared to only one of the two in the placebo arm. Progression-free survival hazard ratio as of the cut-off date also appears to favor the avasopasem arm (HR=0.6, 95% CI: 0.23-1.56; p=0.29). Toxicity was comparable across both treatment arms, with no significant differences in overall or Grade 3 GI toxicity post-SBRT. The data presented included all patients followed for a minimum of three months and 19 for more than one year, with data through August 24, 2020. The Company plans to provide an update on this trial with at least one year of follow-up on all patients in the second half of 2021.
- In October, announced that the first patient had been dosed in the Phase 1/2 GRECO-1 trial of GC4711 in combination with SBRT in patients with central or large peripheral NSCLC tumors. GC4711 is Galera’s second highly selective small molecule superoxide dismutase mimetic candidate and is being developed specifically for use in combination with SBRT. Following a safety run-in cohort, up to 66 NSCLC patients with locally advanced disease will receive GC4711 with SBRT or placebo with SBRT over five consecutive weekdays in a first stage of the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase 2 portion of the GRECO-1 trial. A second stage is planned to add a checkpoint inhibitor to the SBRT combination. The GRECO-1 trial is supported in part by a recently awarded Small Business Innovation Research grant (4R44CA206795-02) from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health. The Company anticipates reporting topline data from the first stage of this trial in the first half of 2022.
- In October, hosted a virtual Key Opinion Leader (KOL) event featuring Sarah Hoffe, M.D., Section Head of GI Radiation Oncology and Senior Member at Moffitt Cancer Center. Dr. Hoffe provided an overview of the management of patients with localized pancreatic cancer, including the current clinical treatment paradigm and the use of SBRT.
- In September, announced the first patient had been dosed in a pilot Phase 2 clinical trial of avasopasem to evaluate its ability to improve 28-day mortality in hospitalized patients who are critically ill with COVID-19. The Company anticipates reporting topline data from this trial in the first half of 2021.
- Continued enrollment in multiple clinical trials of avasopasem for radiation-induced toxicities, including the Phase 3 ROMAN trial to assess its ability to reduce the incidence and severity of severe oral mucositis induced by radiotherapy in patients with locally advanced head and neck cancer (HNC), the Phase 2a EUSOM multi-center trial in Europe assessing the safety of avasopasem in patients with HNC undergoing standard-of-care radiotherapy, as well as the AESOP Phase 2a trial to assess its ability to reduce the incidence of esophagitis induced by radiotherapy in patients with lung cancer. The Company remains on track to announce topline data from the ROMAN trial in the second half of 2021.
Third Quarter 2020 Financial Highlights
- Research and development expenses were $12.1 million in the third quarter of 2020, compared to $11.0 million for the same period in 2019. The increase was primarily attributable to avasopasem development costs due to increased expenses in the Phase 3 ROMAN trial, additional clinical trials including the Phase 2a trial for the treatment of esophagitis in patients with lung cancer and the Phase 2a multi-center trial in Europe assessing the safety of avasopasem in patients with HNC. In addition, employee-related costs also increased due to increased headcount and share-based compensation expense. The increases were partially offset by decreased avasopasem preclinical spend and decreased GC4711 development expenses.
- General and administrative expenses were $3.9 million in the third quarter of 2020, compared to $1.8 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 $(17.1) million, or $(0.69) per share, for the third quarter of 2020, compared to a net loss of $(13.4) million, or $(51.43) per share, for the same period in 2019.
- As of September 30, 2020, Galera had cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments of $89.2 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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