Galecto Biotech Raises EUR 79m to Advance Galectin Inhibitor to Late-Stage Clinical Development
29 October 2018 - - Denmark-based Galecto Biotech AB, a developer of galectin modulators for the treatment of severe diseases, including fibrosis and cancer, has closed a EUR 79 m series C financing co-led by Ysios Capital and OrbiMed, the company said.

New investors Ysios Capital, OrbiMed, HBM Healthcare Investments, OrbiMed Israel, Bristol Myers-Squibb, Maverick Ventures and Seventure Partners joined existing investors Novo Seeds, M Ventures, and Sunstone Capital in the financing round.

Concurrent with the financing, Karen Wagner (Ysios Capital), Chau Khuong (OrbiMed), Chandra Leo and Erez Chimovits (OrbiMed Israel) were appointed to the Galecto board of directors.

Galecto will use the proceeds to conduct a phase 2/3 clinical study of inhaled TD139, a potent and selective inhibitor of galectin-3, in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a chronic and severe disease characterized by progressive decline in lung function.

This international, multi-center phase 2/3 study will be conducted by Galecto in Europe and North America following positive data obtained from the phase 1/2a clinical studies. The financing proceeds will also be used to conduct clinical studies with additional oral and ocular Gal-3 inhibitor drug candidates.

TD139, a highly potent, specific inhibitor of the galactoside binding pocket of galectin-3, has been formulated for inhalation to enable direct targeting the fibrotic tissue in the lungs, while minimising systemic exposure.

In a phase 1/2 proof of concept study in IPF patients, TD139 was found to be safe, well tolerated, and exhibited direct target engagement with macrophages, the key cellular target in fibrotic disease.

TD139 was initially developed by a team of scientists from Lund University (Sweden) and Edinburgh University.

Galectin-3 is a member of the galectin family of galactoside-binding lectins. Galectin-3 exists both intra- and extra-cellularly, and binds to glycosylated proteins. Galectin-3 has been shown to play a central role in fibrosis development and progression.

The activation of macrophages, and recruitment and activation of myofibroblasts, the two central cell types in organ fibrosis, is dependent on galectin-3.

Abolition of galectin-3 expression in knockout animals or pharmacological blockade using Galecto Biotech's inhibitors leads to a dramatic reduction or even prevention of fibrosis.

Galecto is focused on developing novel drugs for the treatment of fibrosis, inflammation, and other serious human diseases.

The company's products target galectins or galactoside binding lectins, which are a group of proteins shown to be involved in many disease processes.

Since its founding in 2011, Galecto's team of scientists and experts has proven that galectin-3 is an attractive drug target and that galectin-3 inhibitors are effective in reducing fibrosis in several different organs in preclinical models.

Based on this research and recently completed clinical studies, Galecto's high potency galectin modulators may open new treatment possibilities for many patients. The company is located in Copenhagen, Denmark.