Galecto, Inc. (NASDAQ: GLTO), a clinical stage biotechnology company focused on the development of novel treatments for fibrosis and cancer, today announced a recent publication in the Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology,1 a peer-reviewed scientific journal, supporting the Company’s ongoing clinical programs by reinforcing the foundational galectin-3 biology underlying Galecto’s approach to the inhibition of galectin-3 for the treatment of cancer.
The journal article provides confirmation for the hypothesis that high levels of galectin-3 expression have a strong correlation with tumor resistance to checkpoint inhibitors. The publication includes study data from a group of patients with varying degrees of galectin-3 expression, with patients being categorized as having either “high” or “low” levels based on their blood galectin-3 levels. Patients in the high galectin-3 expression group showed significantly shorter overall survival (1.6 vs. 12.3 months, p = 0.018) and trends toward reduced progression-free survival (0.9 vs. 3.7 months, p = 0.196) when compared to patients in the low galectin-3 expression group. The Company believes that the inhibition of galectin-3 by GB1211, Galecto’s selective oral small molecule candidate, could lead to an increase in the efficacy of checkpoint inhibitors in cancer patients with high galectin-3 expression.
Preclinical data presented at the 2022 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting in May 2022 showed that galectin-3 may be a key cause of resistance to checkpoint inhibitors. Further, it was shown that GB1211 reversed the galectin-3 induced blockage of the checkpoint inhibitors atezolizumab and pembrolizumab and increased the effects of these checkpoint inhibitors. GB1211 is currently being evaluated in combination with atezolizumab in a Phase 2a trial for the first-line treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Professor Dong-Wan Kim, MD, Ph.D., of Seoul National University Hospital, commented, “We were impressed by the difference between patients with low galectin-3 and those with high galectin-3 in terms of overall survival. Galectin-3 may be a clinically important marker for resistance to checkpoint inhibitors, and gives a rationale for the combination of a galectin-3 inhibitor with a checkpoint inhibitor to improve responses in lung cancer patients, and ultimately may be used to select cancer patients who may benefit from galectin-3 inhibition.”
Professor Bertil Lindmark, Chief Medical Officer of Galecto, added, “The data included in the publication strengthens our belief that GB1211, which is designed to reduce the presence and activity of galectin-3, may increase the efficacy of checkpoint inhibitors in our ongoing Phase 2a NSCLC trial. The systemic level of galectin-3 may be a marker of checkpoint inhibitor resistance and potentially an easily accessible tool for identifying patients who (i) are not likely to respond to checkpoint inhibition and (ii) may benefit from galectin-3 inhibition.”
Galecto is a clinical stage company incorporated in the U.S. that is developing small molecule-based inhibitors of galectin-3 and LOXL2. Galecto has four ongoing Phase 2 clinical programs in fibrosis and cancer, including (i) an inhaled galectin-3 modulator (GB0139) in a phase 2b trial for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF); (ii) an orally active LOXL2 inhibitor (GB2064) in a phase 2 trial for the treatment of myelofibrosis; (iii) an orally active galectin-3 inhibitor (GB1211) in a phase 1b/2a trial in liver cirrhosis and (iv) an orally active galectin-3 inhibitor (GB1211) in a separate phase 2 trial for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in combination with atezolizumab (Tecentriq®).
Galecto intends to use its website as a means of disclosing material non-public information. For regular updates about Galecto, visit www.galecto.com.
Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Such forward-looking statements include statements about the potential safety and efficacy of GB1211 in combination with atezolizumab, the ability of GB1211 to reduce the presence and activity of galectin-3 and increase the efficacy of checkpoint inhibitors in cancer patients with high galectin-3 expression, the timing for potential data readouts from our clinical trial of GB1211 and Galecto’s focus and plans for clinical development of its product candidates and pipeline. Such forward-looking statements include statements about Galecto’s focus, plans for clinical development, product candidates and pipeline. The words “may,” “will,” “could,” “would,” “should,” “expect,” “plan,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “believe,” “estimate,” “predict,” “project,” “potential,” “continue,” “target” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain these identifying words. For such statements, Galecto claims the protection of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual events or results may differ materially from Galecto's expectations. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements include risks and uncertainties related to the development of Galecto’s product candidates and their therapeutic potential, having adequate funds and their use, and those disclosed in Galecto’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including, but not limited to, Galecto’s Annual Report on Form 10-K, as filed with the SEC on February 17, 2022. These forward-looking statements represent Galecto's judgment as of the time of this release. Galecto disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements, other than as may be required under applicable law.
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