|Type||Public (NASDAQ: GALE)|
|Headquarters||Lake Oswego, Oregon, United States|
|Key people||Mark J. Ahn|
|Net income||-$11.5 million (2011)|
|Employees||19 (March 2012)|
Galena Biopharma (NASDAQ: GALE) is publicly traded pharmaceutical company based in Lake Oswego in the U.S. state of Oregon. The 19-employee company was originally started as Argonaut Pharmaceuticals and later became RXi Pharmaceuticals, both based in Worcester, Massachusetts, and is headed by president and CEO Mark J. Ahn. Galena Biopharma focuses on cancer therapy and had an annual loss of $11.5 million with no revenue in 2011.
The started as Argonaut Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in April 2006, and soon changed their name to RXi Pharmaceuticals Corporation in November of that year. RXi was originally a subsidiary of CytRx Corp., and was founded in part by Craig Mello. CytRx provided financing of $15 million to RXi in April 2007. In September 2007, RXi signed a licensing deal with TriLink Biotechnologies, a competitor in the RNA interference (RNAi) field, in which RXi would pay TriLink to use three of TriLink's technologies.
RXi went public in March 2008 in an unusual maneuver in which parent company CytRx gave shares of RXi to its existing shareholders. CytRx retained ownership of 49% of RXi's stock, which started trading on the NASDAQ market on March 12, 2008, under the ticker symbol of RXII. Fidelity Investments invested $8.5 million in the company in May 2008, followed by a $25 million private-equity investment by Yorkville in February 2009. In 2010, RXi was awarded a National Institutes of Health grant of $600,000.
By August 2010, the company had grown to 30 employees. In March 2011, the company announced the planned acquisition of Arizona-based Apthera, Inc. for $7 million. The acquisition included a breast cancer drug called NeuVax. That same month, president and CEO Noah Beerman was replaced by Mark J. Ahn. In April 2011, RXi raised approximately $12 million from a stock offering and received $580,000 in grants from the National Institutes of Health. Also in 2011, NeuVax was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration to start astage three clinical trial.
In September 2011, the company restructured and renamed itself as Galena Biopharma. As part of the restructuring, a new company was created that retained the RNAi technologies, which itself retained the old RXi Pharmaceuticals name, and which remained headquartered in Massachusetts. Meanwhile the cancer therapies portion of the company went with Galena Biopharma, with that portion of the business remaining a publicly traded. Galena Biopharma then moved to Oregon at that same time, but retained an ownership stake in the other part of the company. Part of the decision to move to the Portland metropolitan area was to be close to the Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Science University.
In October 2011, the company had to restate their financial results. The company entered into a joint drug project with Genentech in November 2011 to combine drugs of each company for a cancer treatment. In November 2012, an anonymous internet report caused the stock to briefly tumble and for the company to file a lawsuit claiming the report was a lie and an attempt to manipulate the stock.
Galena Biopharma's main product is NeuVax, a breast cancer therapy drug in clinical trials. The drug may also serve as a vaccine to prevent breast cancer. The company is working with Genentech, which is a subsidiary of Roche, to try the drug in combination with Roche's Herceptin.
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