Healthcare Industry News: Oral Mucositis
News Release - June 15, 2010
Galera Therapeutics Secures Funding for New Cancer TreatmentDrug Development Targets Side Effects of Cancer Treatment
ST. LOUIS--(HSMN NewsFeed)--Galera Therapeutics, a drug development company focused on novel therapeutics to protect against the side effects and increase the effectiveness of cancer treatment, today announced it has completed a Series 1 financing led by BioGenerator. Also participating in the round is Galera Angels, LLC, an angel investment group, and Analytical Bio-Chemistry Laboratories, Inc. (ABC), of Columbia Missouri. Proceeds from the financing will be used to advance Galera’s lead program targeting the prevention of Oral Mucositis, and to further the development of the company’s proprietary platform for other cancer therapy side effects.
Galera was founded in 2009 by a team of experienced executives and drug developers led by Dennis Riley, Ph.D., inventor of a class of drugs known as dismutase mimetics. Dr. Riley has authored studies showing that these compounds both improve the efficacy and reduce the side effects of cancer immunotherapeutics. “These candidates have looked very promising not only for reducing the side effects of current cancer therapies, but also for potentially increasing their effectiveness,” stated Randy Weiss, Ph.D., chief executive officer of Galera Therapeutics. “Since the compounds also already have been in human safety trials, this is an incredible opportunity to rapidly move a lead candidate into a proof-of-concept study in the prevention of Oral Mucositis. Success would be welcome news to the thousands of patients suffering from radiation side effects, especially given the lack of approved drugs to prevent this very serious complication.”
Galera’s dismutase mimetics act to convert the large levels of superoxide generated during radiation or chemotherapy into hydrogen peroxide, which normal cells dispose of easily. Unchecked, this superoxide causes serious damage to normal tissue, causing for example, severe Oral Mucositis during radiation therapy for head-and-neck cancer. Tumor cells on the other hand, are not well-equipped to deal with hydrogen peroxide, and thus are not protected by the dismutase mimetics. The first dismutase mimetic candidates have already completed extensive human safety testing, and Galera expects to select and move a lead candidate into Phase 2a studies within the next year.
“We are pleased to have led this round of financing for Galera,” said Eric Gulve, Ph.D., President of BioGenerator. “To invest here in St. Louis in an experienced management team committed to improving lives is exactly why BioGenerator was formed. We are also excited to be partnering with other investors from the region in this and other recent projects supporting emerging life sciences companies in the area.”
“ABC Laboratories is pleased to contribute its drug development experience and capabilities to Galera’s program,” said John D. Bucksath, Senior VP and General Manager of ABC’s pharmaceutical division.“We’ve developed a strong relationship with the team of professionals at Galera, and are well positioned to help them advance this novel, very important new therapy.”
Bob Calcaterra, President of the St. Louis Arch Angels, who led the investment by Galera Angels, LLC added, “This sort of opportunity: quick, efficient progress to proof-of-concept for a product and program that could be very interesting to potential acquirers is exactly the type of investment we like in the current market.”
Galera is dedicated to the development of innovative, effective and safe medicines to treat cancer and prevent the side effects associated with current treatment regimens. The company’s dismutase mimetics – small molecules that mimic the activity of the body’s ubiquitous superoxide dismutase enzymes – have shown the unprecedented ability in pre-clinical models to both attack tumors and protect normal tissue from the damage resulting from other cancer treatments, such as radiation therapy, chemotherapy and cytokine immunotherapies such as interleukin-2. Galera’s two most advanced candidates were previously in development for a non-cancer indication and thus have extensive human clinical experience. This enables Galera to progress directly to human proof-of-concept, or “Phase 2a” studies. Galera was founded in 2009 and is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri at the Center for Emerging Technologies. The company will shortly be launching its website at www.galeratx.com.
BioGenerator (www.biogenerator.org) is a privately funded, non-profit organization created to facilitate the formation of life science companies in the St. Louis area. Founded in 2003, BioGenerator’s mission is to identify and support promising life science technologies, to work with the researcher/inventor to build successful, sustainable life science companies for economic development in the St. Louis region. BioGenerator provides assistance, and in some cases pre-seed or seed funding, at the very earliest stages of new life science companies.
About ABC Laboratories
Analytical Bio-Chemistry (ABC) Laboratories, Inc. is a leading provider of contract development services to the pharmaceutical, animal health and chemical industries. The company supports all stages of drug development and chemical product registrations worldwide with expert analytical chemistry and value-added, regulatory-compliant development services. For additional information, visit http://www.abclabs.com.
About Galera Angels, LLC
Galera Angels, LLC is an entity that was set up specifically to invest in Galera Therapeutics, LLC. The membership consists of 17 members of which approximately half are members of the St. Louis Arch Angel Network. Other members are primarily from the St. Louis region but also represent investors from throughout the Midwest.
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