ITEM 1. BUSINESS
We are a late-stage clinical biopharmaceutical company focused on developing novel cancer immunotherapeutics for a broad range of cancer indications. Our product candidates currently include galinpepimut-S and nelipepimut-S.
Galinpepimut-S, or GPS
Our lead product candidate, galinpepimut-S, or GPS, is a cancer immunotherapeutic agent licensed from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, or MSK, that targets the Wilms tumor 1, or WT1, protein, which is present in 20 or more cancer types. Based on its mechanism of action as a directly immunizing agent, GPS has potential as a monotherapy or in combination with other immunotherapeutic agents to address a broad spectrum of hematologic, or blood, cancers and solid tumor indications.
In January 2020, we commenced in the United States a Phase 3 clinical trial, the REGAL study, for GPS monotherapy in patients with acute myeloid leukemia, or AML, in the maintenance setting after achievement of second complete remission, or CRem2, following successful completion of second-line antileukemic therapy. We expect this study will be used as the basis for submission of a Biologics License Application, or BLA, subject to a statistically significant and clinically meaningful data outcome and agreement with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, or the FDA. In the second half of 2020, we received approval from each of the French and German regulatory authorities to advance the REGAL study in France and Germany, respectively. We expect approvals from additional European health authorities in early 2021 which will allow us to expand AML patient enrollment for the REGAL study in Europe. We plan to enroll approximately 116 patients at up to approximately 135 clinical sites primarily in the United States and Europe with a planned interim safety and futility analysis after 80 events (deaths) which we anticipate will take place in the first half of 2022, provided that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic does not significantly adversely impact our projected timeline for enrollment.
In December 2020, we entered into an exclusive license agreement with 3D Medicines Inc., a China-based biopharmaceutical company developing next-generation immuno-oncology drugs, for the development and commercialization of GPS, as well as the Company’s next generation heptavalent immunotherapeutic GPS+, which is at preclinical stage, across all therapeutic and diagnostic uses in the Greater China territory (mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan). We have retained sole rights to GPS and GPS+ outside of the Greater China area.
In December 2018, pursuant to a Clinical Trial Collaboration and Supply Agreement, we initiated a Phase 1/2 multi-arm "basket" type clinical study of GPS in combination with Merck & Co., Inc.’s anti-PD-1 therapy, Keytruda® (pembrolizumab). The tumor type currently being studied is ovarian cancer (second or third line). We reported initial data from this study in December 2020 and we expect to report further clinical and immunobiological data by the end of the first half of 2021. We, together with Merck, have determined not to pursue the following indications as part of the basket study: colorectal cancer, triple negative breast cancer, small cell lung cancer, or SCLC, or AML, and we are exploring other additional potential indications to investigate in the study.
In February 2020, a Phase I open-label investigator-sponsored clinical trial of GPS, in combination with Bristol-Myers Squibb’s anti-PD-1 therapy, nivolumab (Opdivo®), in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma, or MPM, who harbor relapsed or refractory disease after having received frontline standard of care multimodality therapy was commenced at MSK. In December 2020, we announced initial data from this study and we expect to report further clinical and immunobiological data by the end of the first half of 2021.
GPS was granted Orphan Drug Product Designations from the FDA, as well as Orphan Medicinal Product Designations from the European Medicines Agency, or EMA, for GPS in AML, MPM, and multiple myeloma, or MM, as well as Fast Track Designation for AML, MPM, and MM from the FDA.
Nelipepimut-S or NPS
Nelipepimut-S, or NPS, is a cancer immunotherapy targeting the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, or HER2, expressing cancers. Data presented in 2018 from a Phase 2b clinical trial of the combination of trastuzumab (Herceptin®) plus NPS in HER2 low expressing (1+ or 2+ per immunohistochemistry, or IHC) breast cancer patients in the adjuvant setting to prevent recurrences showed a clinically and statistically significant improvement in the disease-free survival, or DFS, rate for the TNBC cohort at 24 months for patients treated with NPS plus trastuzumab of 92.6% compared to 70.2% for those treated with trastuzumab alone. Following discussions with the FDA and based upon written feedback from the FDA and on the totality of clinical, safety and translational NPS data to date, we have finalized the design and plan for a Phase 3 registration-enabling study of NPS in combination with trastuzumab for the treatment of patients with TNBC in the adjuvant setting after standard treatment. If successful, we believe this study may be considered as the basis for a BLA submission to the FDA. We are seeking out-licensing opportunities to fund and conduct the future clinical development of NPS in order to maximize the potential of the program and we do not plan to conduct and fund a Phase 3 program for NPS on our own.
FBP-targeting bivalent vaccine (GALE-301/-302)
In order to prioritize development of our core assets, we determined to cease development of GALE-301 and GALE-302, cancer immunotherapies that target the E39 peptide derived from the folate binding protein, or FBP, which were licensed in from The Henry M. Jackson Foundation, or HJF, and the MD Anderson Cancer Center, or MDACC. We entered into a Termination Agreement with HJF and MDACC in February 2021.
The chart below summarizes the current status of our clinical development pipeline: