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Galena Biopharma Announces Independent Data Safety Monitoring Committee Recommends Reduction of Cardiac Toxicity Monitoring for NeuVax(TM) PRESENT Trial

PORTLAND, Ore., Aug. 24, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Galena Biopharma, Inc. (NASDAQ:GALE), a biopharmaceutical company developing and commercializing innovative, targeted oncology therapeutics that address major medical needs across the full spectrum of cancer care, today announced that the Independent Data Monitoring Committee (IDMC) has recommended to the Company that it can reduce the cardiac toxicity monitoring for patients in its NeuVax™ (nelipepimut-S) Phase 3 PRESENT (Prevention of Recurrence in Early-Stage, Node-Positive Breast Cancer with Low to Intermediate HER2 Expression with NeuVax Treatment) clinical trial. The trial is being run under a Special Protocol Assessment (SPA) approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Following its most recent IDMC meeting in June 2015, the IDMC recommended routine cardiac monitoring could be reduced in the PRESENT trial and that such a reduction is justified and consistent with the pre-specified Cardiac Toxicity Monitoring Stopping Rules defined in the study protocol. The IDMC concluded that cardiac toxicity monitoring by echocardiogram (ECHO) or multiple-gated acquisition (MUGA) scans could be reduced. The IDMC had no other suggestions and recommended the trial continue as planned.

Mark W. Schwartz, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, "We are pleased to see that cardiac events have not appeared as a safety issue thus far in the study, relative to published reports of cardiac toxicity associated with other HER2 directed therapies. Importantly, the recommendation by the IDMC to reduce the frequency of cardiac assessments, per the protocol, facilitates the ongoing compliance and patient retention on trial."

Per the PRESENT protocol, the IDMC was established and is made up of a group of physicians including medical oncologists, a cardiologist, and an independent statistician with pertinent expertise to evaluate accumulated data from the trial. The IDMC meets periodically and advises Galena regarding the continuing safety of trial patients, efficacy, as well as the continuing validity, integrity, and the overall conduct of the trial.

About NeuVax™ (nelipepimut-S)

NeuVax™ (nelipepimut-S) is a first-in-class, HER2-directed cancer immunotherapy under evaluation to prevent breast cancer recurrence after standard of care treatment in the adjuvant setting. It is the immunodominant peptide derived from the extracellular domain of the HER2 protein, a well-established target for therapeutic intervention in breast carcinoma. NeuVax has been shown to bind to HLA-A2 and A3, as well as HLA-A24 and A26 molecules. The nelipepimut-S sequence stimulates specific CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) following binding to specific HLA molecules on antigen presenting cells (APC). These activated specific CTLs recognize, neutralize and destroy, through cell lysis, HER2 expressing cancer cells, including occult cancer cells and micrometastatic foci. The nelipepimut-S immune response can also generate CTLs to other immunogenic peptides through inter- and intra-antigenic epitope spreading.

NeuVax is currently in an international, Phase 3 PRESENT (Prevention of Recurrence in Early-Stage, Node-Positive Breast Cancer with Low to Intermediate HER2 Expression with NeuVax Treatment) study under a Special Protocol Assessment (SPA) granted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Additional information on the PRESENT trial can be found at www.neuvax.com (clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT01479244). Galena has two additional breast cancer studies ongoing with NeuVax in combination with trastuzumab (Herceptin®; Genentech/Roche): a Phase 2b trial in node positive and triple negative HER2 IHC 1+/2+ (clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT01570036); and, a Phase 2 trial in neoadjuvantly treated node positive and negative HER2 IHC 3+ patients not achieving a pathological complete response (pCR) or adjuvantly treated node positive HER2 IHC 3+ patients (clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT02297698).

About HER2 1+/2+ Breast Cancer

According to the National Cancer Institute, over 230,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with breast cancer annually. Of these women, only about 25% are HER2 positive (IHC 3+). NeuVax targets approximately 50%-60% of these women who are HER2 low to intermediate (IHC 1+/2+ or FISH < 2.0) and achieve remission with current standard of care, but have no available HER2-targeted adjuvant treatment options to maintain their disease-free status.

About Galena Biopharma

Galena Biopharma, Inc. (NASDAQ:GALE) is a biopharmaceutical company developing and commercializing innovative, targeted oncology therapeutics that address major medical needs across the full spectrum of cancer care. Galena's development portfolio ranges from mid- to late-stage clinical assets, including a robust immunotherapy program led by NeuVax™ (nelipepimut-S) currently in an international, Phase 3 clinical trial. The Company's commercial drugs include Abstral® (fentanyl) Sublingual Tablets and Zuplenz® (ondansetron) Oral Soluble Film. Collectively, Galena's clinical and commercial strategy focuses on identifying and advancing therapeutic opportunities to improve cancer care, from direct treatment of the disease to the reduction of its debilitating side-effects. 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 the progress of the commercialization of Abstral® and Zuplenz® and development of Galena's product candidates, including patient enrollment in our clinical trials, as well as statements about our expectations, plans and prospects. 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, 2014 and most recent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q 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.

Abstral and NeuVax are trademarks of Galena Biopharma, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

CONTACT: Remy Bernarda SVP, Investor Relations & Corporate Communications (503) 405-8258 rbernarda@galenabiopharma.com

Source:Galena Biopharma