Pharma Focus Asia

Galecto and PharmAkea Merge to Create Strong Clinical-Stage Company Developing First-in-Class Therapeutics in Fibrosis and Cancer

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Galecto, the leading developer of galectin modulators for the treatment of fibrotic diseases including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and cancer, and PharmAkea, Inc., a privately held San Diego-based pharmaceutical company developing novel small molecules against protein targets involved in fibroproliferative disease, today announced the two companies will merge. Financial terms have not been disclosed. Following completion, the joint company will retain the Galecto name and current senior management team, including Hans Schambye as CEO. Galecto, Inc. will be incorporated in the US and will retain its operating headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The merger brings together two clinical stage companies with strong programs in fibrosis and cancer, including an inhaled galectin-3 modulator currently in phase IIb for the potential treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Galecto has built a broad pipeline of drug candidates targeting the role of galectin-3 in inhibiting cells involved in fibrosis. This is complemented by PharmAkea, which has developed small molecules that target LOXL2, a key enzyme involved in the formation of the extracellular matrix during the fibrotic process.

“The merger between Galecto and PharmAkea brings together two highly complementary companies, which with our strengths in fibrosis and cancer will help us build a future global player in this space. PharmAkea, which included team members from Amira Pharmaceuticals, previously acquired by BMS, has a highly validated target and an exciting next generation small molecule inhibitor that is very potent and penetrates the fibrotic tissue. We are very much looking forward to working as a combined entity,” said Hans Schambye, CEO of Galecto.

“Galecto has vast experience in developing galectin-3 modulators that have potential to open up new treatment options, particularly in fibrotic indications. The synergy achieved by combining our complementary scientific approaches, first-in-class product candidates, supportive long-term investors and dedicated employees with extensive experience of drug development, will ensure that we address these debilitating diseases sooner,” said Robert Williamson, CEO of PharmAkea.

As a consequence of the merger, Carl Goldfischer from Bay City Capital will join the Galecto Board of Directors.

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