Galena Biopharma Enrolls First Patient in GALE-301 (Folate Binding Protein (FBP)) Cancer Immunotherapy Phase 2 Clinical Trial in Ovarian Cancer

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| Source: Galena Biopharma

PORTLAND, Ore., Jan. 7, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Galena Biopharma (Nasdaq:GALE), a biopharmaceutical company developing and commercializing innovative, targeted oncology treatments that address major unmet medical needs to advance cancer care, today announced the first patient has been enrolled in the Phase 2 trial for GALE-301 (Folate Binding Protein (FBP) vaccine). GALE-301 is a folate receptor alpha-derived, peptide-based cancer immunotherapy administered to HLA-A2 positive patients in combination with granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) as an adjuvant treatment to prevent recurrences in high-risk, endometrial and ovarian cancer patients rendered disease-free after completing standard of care therapy.

The optimized dose, along with the implementation of a booster regimen, will be used in the Phase 2 trial. The Phase 2 trial is an open-label trial with two arms consisting of HLA-A2 positive patients treated with the FBP peptide plus adjuvant versus active control. After an initial induction series of six vaccinations given once per month, patients will be boosted twice at 6-month intervals. The primary objective of the trial is to measure immune response, with secondary outcomes of recurrence. 

"With GALE-301 progressing into its Phase 2 trial, we continue to demonstrate progress of our innovative cancer immunotherapy pipeline," said Mark J. Ahn, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer. "Once recurrent, ovarian and endometrial cancers are two of the deadliest malignancies, therefore preventing metastatic disease is critical. We are encouraged by the promising early results of GALE-301 in addressing this critical unmet medical need."

Initial results from the Phase 1 trial determined the optimal dose and showed that GALE-301 was well tolerated and evoked a FBP specific immunological response. After a median follow-up of six months from completion of the vaccine series, there were 2 recurrences (13.3%; n=15) in the vaccine group vs. 4 recurrences (25%, n=16) in the control group, although the trial was not powered for any efficacy measurements.

About GALE-301 (Folate Binding Protein (FBP) vaccine)

GALE-301 (Folate Binding Protein (FBP)) cancer immunotherapy targets FBP, a well-validated therapeutic target whichis highly over-expressed in breast, ovarian and endometrial cancers. FBP is the source of immunogenic peptides that can stimulate cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) to recognize and destroy presenting FBP-expressing cancer cells. The FBP vaccine consists of the FBP peptide(s) combined with the immune adjuvant, granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF). Galena's FBP vaccine is currently in a Phase 1/2 trial in two gynecological cancers: ovarian and endometrial adenocarcinomas.

About Ovarian/Endometrial Cancers

Ovarian cancer occurs in over 22,000 patients per year in the U.S. and is the most lethal gynecologic cancer. Despite the incidence of ovarian cancer being only approximately 20% of that of breast cancer, the number of patients that die from ovarian cancer is nearly 50% of that of breast cancer. Due to the lack of specific symptoms, the majority of ovarian cancer patients are diagnosed at later stages of the disease. These patients have their tumors routinely surgically debulked to minimal residual disease, and then are treated with platinum- and/or taxane-based chemotherapy. While most patients respond to this treatment regimen and become clinically free-of-disease, the majority of these patients will relapse, and once the disease recurs, the treatment options and successes drop dramatically.

Endometrial cancer is the most common gynecologic cancer and occurs in over 46,000 women, with over 8,000 deaths, in the U.S. annually. There are two basic types of endometrial cancer: endometrioid and papillary serous. The latter has a much more aggressive clinical course and the majority of these patients will die of this form of the disease.

About Galena Biopharma

Galena Biopharma, Inc. (Nasdaq:GALE) is a Portland, Oregon-based biopharmaceutical company developing and commercializing innovative, targeted oncology treatments that address major unmet medical needs to advance cancer care. For more information visit www.galenabiopharma.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements include, but are not limited to, statements about patient enrollment in our Phase 2 clinical trial, as well as statements about our expectations, plans and prospects of our GALE 301 product candidate. These forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties and assumptions, including those identified under "Risk Factors" in Galena's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2012 and Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2013 filed with the SEC. Actual results may differ materially from those contemplated by these forward-looking statements. Galena does not undertake to update any of these forward-looking statements to reflect a change in its views or events or circumstances that occur after the date of this press release.

Remy Bernarda
VP, Marketing & Communications
(503) 405-8258