NEW YORK – Boston-based biotech Galecto on Tuesday said it has inked a drug supply agreement with Roche, allowing it to explore the activity of its oral galectin-3 inhibitor GB1211 with Roche's checkpoint inhibitor atezolizumab (Tecentriq) as a first-line treatment for non-small cell lung cancer patients.
Galecto will fund the trial, which will be the first clinical exploration of GB1211's anti-cancer activity, and Roche will supply atezolizumab. The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase IIa trial will involve 70 NSCLC patients. The company will evaluate whether the GB1211-atezolizumab combination shrinks patients' tumors in the first-line setting, track patients' adverse events on the regimen, and look for immune biomarkers of response.
The trial is slated to start in the first half of 2022, and Galecto expects top-line data to readout in mid-2023. The companies didn't detail the financial terms of their deal, though Galecto said it will retain all rights to GB1211.
Galecto's drug inhibits galectin-3, which drives tumor growth and helps shield tumor cells from immune recognition and attack through interaction with LAG-3, TGF-β, interferon gamma, and K-Ras. In trials involving NSCLC patients, those with high galectin-3 expression didn't respond well to checkpoint inhibitors. In preclinical tumor models, meanwhile, GB1211 has shown promising efficacy against NSCLC with high galectin-3 expression and resistance to anti-PD-1 or -PD-L1 treatments.
As such, Galecto will explore whether high galectin-3 expression in NSCLC may be a predictive biomarker that identifies best responders to GB1211. "Galectin-3 inhibition has the potential to increase both T-cell function as a single agent and the efficacy of checkpoint inhibitors in NSCLC patients with high galectin-3 expression," Galecto CEO Hans Schambye said in a statement.