Galena Biopharma

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Galena Biopharma
Type Public (NASDAQGALE)
Industry Biotechnology
Founded 2006
Headquarters Lake Oswego, Oregon, United States
Key people Mark J. Ahn
Products NeuVax
Revenue $0 (2011)
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.[1][2] Galena Biopharma focuses on cancer therapy and had an annual loss of $11.5 million with no revenue in 2011.[3]


The started as Argonaut Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in April 2006, and soon changed their name to RXi Pharmaceuticals Corporation in November of that year.[2] RXi was originally a subsidiary of CytRx Corp., and was founded in part by Craig Mello.[4] CytRx provided financing of $15 million to RXi in April 2007.[4][5] 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.[5]

RXi went public in March 2008 in an unusual maneuver in which parent company CytRx gave shares of RXi to its existing shareholders.[6][7] 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.[6][7] Fidelity Investments invested $8.5 million in the company in May 2008,[8] followed by a $25 million private-equity investment by Yorkville in February 2009.[9] In 2010, RXi was awarded a National Institutes of Health grant of $600,000.[10]

By August 2010, the company had grown to 30 employees.[10] In March 2011, the company announced the planned acquisition of Arizona-based Apthera, Inc. for $7 million.[1] The acquisition included a breast cancer drug called NeuVax.[11] That same month, president and CEO Noah Beerman was replaced by Mark J. Ahn.[1] In April 2011, RXi raised approximately $12 million from a stock offering[12] and received $580,000 in grants from the National Institutes of Health.[13] Also in 2011, NeuVax was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration to start astage three clinical trial.[14]

In September 2011, the company restructured and renamed itself as Galena Biopharma.[15][1] 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.[15][1] Meanwhile the cancer therapies portion of the company went with Galena Biopharma, with that portion of the business remaining a publicly traded.[1] Galena Biopharma then moved to Oregon at that same time, but retained an ownership stake in the other part of the company.[1][16] 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.[1]

In October 2011, the company had to restate their financial results.[17] The company entered into a joint drug project with Genentech in November 2011 to combine drugs of each company for a cancer treatment.[18][19] 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.[20] The company started selling its first drug in 2013 with the introduction of Abstral Sublingual, a cancer pain drug.[21] In 2014, Galena bought Mills Pharmaceuticals.[22]


Galena Biopharma's main product is NeuVax, a breast cancer therapy drug in clinical trials.[18] The drug may also serve as a vaccine to prevent breast cancer.[1] The company is working with Genentech, which is a subsidiary of Roche, to try the drug in combination with Roche's Herceptin.[19]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Siemers, Erik; Michelle Lang (September 30, 2011). "Galena Biopharma exits Boston for Lake Oswego". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "10-K Annual Report". SEC Filings. Galena Biopharma. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  3. ^ Giegerich, Andy (March 29, 2012). "Galena Biopharma trimmed losses in 2011". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "RXi Pharma to receive $15M from CytRx". Boston Business Journal. April 20, 2007. Retrieved 1 April 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "RXi licenses additional RNAi technology". Boston Business Journal. September 11, 2007. Retrieved 1 April 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Hollmer, Mark (February 25, 2008). "Regulators approve novel stock offering for RXi". Boston Business Journal. Retrieved 1 April 2012. 
  7. ^ a b "RXi Pharmaceuticals begins public trading". Boston Business Journal. March 12, 2008. Retrieved 1 April 2012. 
  8. ^ Noyes, Jesse (December 15, 2008). "RXi hunkers down for potential deal as cash dries". Boston Business Journal. Retrieved 1 April 2012. 
  9. ^ "RXi scores $25M private equity deal". Boston Business Journal. February 6, 2009. Retrieved 1 April 2012. 
  10. ^ a b Donnelly, Julie M. (August 9, 2010). "Startup RXi eyes growth by narrowing its focus". Boston Business Journal. Retrieved 1 April 2012. 
  11. ^ Donnelly, Julie M. (March 31, 2011). "RXi acquires Apthera, names new CEO". Boston Business Journal. Retrieved 1 April 2012. 
  12. ^ Lang, Michelle (April 15, 2011). "RXi makes $12M securities offering". Boston Business Journal. Retrieved 1 April 2012. 
  13. ^ Lang, Michelle (April 26, 2011). "RXi nabs RNAi grants". Boston Business Journal. Retrieved 1 April 2012. 
  14. ^ Donnelly, Julie M. (June 6, 2011). "RXi advances breast cancer vaccine". Boston Business Journal. Retrieved 1 April 2012. 
  15. ^ a b Lang, Michelle (September 26, 2011). "RXi to split into two public companies". Boston Business Journal. Retrieved 1 April 2012. 
  16. ^ Giegerich, Andy (November 14, 2011). "Galena posts year-over-year losses". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  17. ^ Kish, Matthew (October 28, 2011). "Galena restates earnings, loss grows". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  18. ^ a b Leuty, Ron (November 28, 2011). "Genentech, Galena to combine breast cancer therapies in mid-stage trial". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  19. ^ a b Marcial, Gene (March 15, 2012). "Roche Accelerates Defense Strategy to Protect Breast-Cancer Drug Herceptin's Turf". Forbes. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  20. ^ Budnick, Nick (December 2, 2012). "Lake Oswego biotech firm battles Internet critics". The Oregonian. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  21. ^ Hayes, Elizabeth (October 3, 2013). "Galena launches drug for cancer pain in the U.S.". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  22. ^ Hayes, Elizabeth (January 13, 2014). "Galena Biopharma acquisition may deliver promising new drug". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved 14 January 2014.