We are a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing a pipeline of novel, proprietary therapeutics that have the potential to transform radiotherapy in cancer. We leverage our expertise in superoxide dismutase mimetics to design drugs to reduce normal tissue toxicity from radiotherapy and to increase the anti-cancer efficacy of radiotherapy.
Our lead product candidate is avasopasem manganese (avasopasem, or GC4419), a selective small molecule dismutase mimetic in late-stage development to reduce the incidence and severity of radiotherapy-induced severe oral mucositis (SOM) in patients with head and neck cancer. Avasopasem is also in development for radiotherapy-induced esophagitis in patients with lung cancer. Avasopasem has been granted FDA Fast Track and Breakthrough Therapy designations for the reduction of SOM induced by radiotherapy, with or without systemic therapy.
Galera’s second dismutase mimetic product candidate, Rucosopasem, is in clinical-stage development to augment the anti-cancer efficacy of stereotactic body radiation therapy in patients with non-small cell lung cancer and locally advanced pancreatic cancer.
J. Mel Sorensen, MD
President and Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Sorensen has served as Director, President and Chief Executive Officer of Galera since November 2012.
Dr. Sorensen serves on the board of directors of several private companies, including Esanik Therapeutics, Medsyn Biopharma and PlanetVerify Ltd. He is an advisor to the Biomarkers Consortium of the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Sorensen holds an M.B., B.Ch. and B.A.O. from University College, Dublin. Dr. Sorensen’s postgraduate education and work has been in the United States, including an internal medicine residency in St. Louis and medical oncology fellowship at the Mayo Clinic, seven years at the National Cancer Institute as Senior Investigator in the Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program and four years each with Bayer and GlaxoSmithKline. Dr. Sorensen served as Director, Chief Executive Officer and President of Ascenta Therapeutics from 2004 until he joined Galera.
Mark J. Bachleda, PharmD, MBA
Chief Commercial Officer
Dr. Bachleda has served as our Chief Commercial Officer since October 2021.
Dr. Bachleda has over 20 years of enterprise leadership in U.S. and international markets. Prior to Galera, Dr. Bachleda served as Vice President & US Business Unit Head of the CAR T Cell Therapy Franchise at Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS), launching Breyanzi® (liso-cel), a CD19 CAR T in large B cell lymphoma, and Abecma® (ide-cel), the first BCMA CAR T in relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma. He held the same role at Celgene Corporation before its acquisition by BMS for $74 billion in 2019. He served as Vice President, Sales & Account Management at Juno Therapeutics before its $9 billion sale to Celgene in 2018. Previously, Dr. Bachleda worked at Amgen for 15 years in commercial operations roles of increasing responsibility up to Country President & General Manager of Amgen Czech Republic where he led an enterprise of 11 commercialized therapies including launches of Kyprolis®, Blincyto®, and Repatha®.
Dr. Bachleda is a registered pharmacist and received his Doctor of Pharmacy degree (Pharm.D.) from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Health Policy & Economics at Thomas Jefferson University and holds Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees from both Columbia University and University of California at Berkeley.
Robert A. Beardsley, PhD
Chief Operating Officer
Dr. Beardsley, a co-founder of the Company, has served as our Chief Operating Officer since September 2015, and from November 2012 to September 2015 as our Executive Chair.
Prior to this, Dr. Beardsley was the Chief Executive Officer at Galera Therapeutics, LLC from 2010 to 2012, at Metabolic Solutions Development Corporation from 2009 until 2010, and at Kereos from 2003 until 2009, and the acting Chief Executive Officer at Metaphore Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in 2002. He has also served in various management roles at Confluence Life Sciences, bioStrategies Group, Vector Securities International, Enzyme Organics and Mobil Oil. Dr. Beardsley has served on a number of public and private boards including Euclises, Epigenetx, KemPharm, Kereos, CollaGenex Pharmaceuticals, Bioseek, and Metaphore Pharmaceuticals.
Dr. Beardsley received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering, a Ph.D. in Biochemical Engineering from the University of Iowa and an M.B.A. in Finance from the University of Chicago.
Senior Vice President, Regulatory Affairs
Ms. Collier has served as Senior Vice President, Regulatory Affairs since August 2021.
Ms. Collier has over twenty-five years of regulatory affairs and quality experience with drugs, biologics, medical devices, and drug/device combination, encompassing a broad understanding of phase I-IV clinical trials development and management ranging from feasibility to commercial marketing. She has worked on over 80 successful INDs and 60 NDAs with the FDA, in oncology, dermatology and cardiology divisions. She has also shepherded several regulatory approvals in Europe, Australia, Latin America, Japan, and other Asian regulatory agencies. Ms. Collier was most recently the Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, US, Europe and Global New Molecular Entities at Glenmark Pharmaceuticals and held positions of increasing executive experience in several biopharma companies, including Gilead, BTG, Johnson & Johnson and Merck.
Ms. Collier is a pharmacist and holds a MSc in Regulatory Affairs from the University of Southern California.
Chief Financial Officer
Mr. Degnan has served as our Chief Financial Officer since October 2019.
Prior to Galera, Mr. Degnan served as Chief Financial Officer of Verrica Pharmaceuticals Inc. In his role at Verrica, Mr. Degnan successfully completed an initial public offering raising gross proceeds of $86 million, and has extensive experience in financial strategy, investor relations, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission reporting, accounting and compliance. Previously, Mr. Degnan held senior positions at Endo International plc, a generics and specialty branded pharmaceutical company, most recently as Vice President of Finance, Corporate FP&A and International Pharmaceuticals Segment Chief Financial Officer. Prior to joining Endo, Mr. Degnan spent more than 10 years at AstraZeneca plc, a global biopharmaceutical company, in roles of increasing responsibility which culminated in the position of Senior Finance Director, U.S. Commercial Finance.
Mr. Degnan is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of Pennsylvania (voluntary inactive status) and holds a B.B.A. degree in Accounting from the University of Notre Dame.
Eugene P. Kennedy, MD, FACS
Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Kennedy has served as our Chief Medical Officer since September 2022.
Dr. Kennedy is a renowned Johns Hopkins-trained surgical oncologist and former Chief of Pancreatic and Hepatobiliary Surgery at Thomas Jefferson University with over 15 years’ experience in clinical development and biopharma leadership. Before joining Galera, Dr. Kennedy served as Chief Medical Officer at Innovative Cellular Therapeutics, where he was an integral part of developing the Phase 1 clinical protocol and filing a first-in-human IND for a solid tumor CAR T-cell therapy. From March 2020 until March 2021, he served as Chief Medical Officer at Lumos Pharma, where he was responsible for clinical development strategy and execution, as well as investor and patient outreach. Prior to joining Lumos, Dr. Kennedy served as Chief Medical Officer at NewLink Genetics, where he oversaw clinical trials across multiple product candidates and indications, having held positions of increasing responsibility since 2013. From 2006 until joining NewLink Genetics, Dr. Kennedy served as Associate Professor of Surgery at Thomas Jefferson University and held leadership positions as Chief of the Section of Pancreatic and Hepatobiliary Surgery and Co-Director of the Jefferson Pancreas, Biliary, and Related Cancers Center. Prior to joining Jefferson, Dr. Kennedy practiced, taught, and held leadership roles at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and Louisiana State University. He has authored over 50 peer-reviewed publications.
Dr. Kennedy received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and an M.D. from the Medical College of Virginia.
Jon T. Holmlund, MD
Chief Medical Officer, Emeritus
Dr. Holmlund is a medical oncologist who has served Galera as Chief Medical Officer since October 2012 and plans to retire at the end of 2022.
Dr. Holmlund has over 25 years’ experience in oncology drug development, in senior positions in industry including CMO of Ascenta Therapeutics and VP of Development at Isis [now Ionis] Pharmaceuticals, as a consultant to large and small biopharmaceutical companies, and as a senior investigator in the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program and Biological Response Modifiers Program.
Dr. Holmlund received his MD from SUNY Buffalo and completed postgraduate training in internal medicine and medical oncology at George Washington University Medical Center (Washington, DC).
Dennis P. Riley, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer, Emeritus
Dr. Riley co-founded Galera Therapeutics and has been Galera’s CSO since the founding, becoming Chief Scientific Officer, Emeritus in January 2022.
Prior to Galera Therapeutics, Dr. Riley was Senior Vice President at Kereos and prior to that was VP of Research at Metaphore Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Riley spent much of his career at Monsanto, rising to a Senior Science Fellow and Manager of Metal-Mediated Chemistry. Dr. Riley is an Adjunct Professor of Chemistry at Washington University.
After graduating cum laude from Heidelberg College with majors in chemistry and mathematics, he earned his Ph.D. at The Ohio State University followed by post-doctoral training at the University of Chicago. He was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1996, elected Chairperson and organizer of the 1998 Gordon Research Conference on Inorganic Chemistry, was the recipient of the ACS St. Louis Section’s “Chemist of the Year” Award for 1999, was the recipient of the 2002 The Ohio State University Devon W. Meek Industrial Lectureship, is the recipient of the 2003 Herman Bloch Memorial Lectureship at the University of Chicago, and was lecturer at the 31st Peter A. Leermakers Symposium at Wesleyan University in May 2003. He has over 30 U.S. Patents granted and has published over 100 primary scientific articles.
Senior Vice President, Clinical Operations and Data Management
Ms. Schnyder has served as our Sr. Vice President, Clinical Operations and Data Management since January 2022 and previously as Vice President, Clinical Operations since October 2020.
Ms. Schnyder has over 20 years of Clinical Operations experience in oncology, dermatology, and immunology. Prior to joining Galera, Ms. Schnyder served as Executive Director of Clinical Operations at Aclaris Therapeutics where she built out a Clinical Operations and Data Management team responsible for the development of novel dermatology and immune-inflammatory assets. Ms. Schnyder has held Clinical Operations and Development positions at Lycera, Tetralogic, Gemin X Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Cephalon), GSK, PharmaNet, and Cephalon. She began her career in Clinical Operations at U.S. Bioscience (MedImmune).
Ms. Schnyder holds a Bachelors degree in Biology from Lafayette College and a Masters of Business Administration with a concentration in Health Care Administration from Widener University.
Jennifer Evans Stacey, Esq
Chief Legal and Compliance Officer
Ms. Stacey has served as our Chief Legal and Compliance Officer since October 2021.
Prior to Galera, Ms. Stacey served as Vice President, General Counsel, Secretary and Government Relations at The Wistar Institute, an international biomedical research institute focused on cancer, vaccines and infectious disease. Previously, she served as Senior Vice President, General Counsel, Human Resources and Secretary at Antares Pharma, Inc. Prior to that, Ms. Stacey served as Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Human Resources, and Secretary at Auxilium Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and as Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, General Counsel and Secretary at Aventis Behring, LLC (now CSL Behring). She began her career in life sciences at Rhône-Poulenc Rorer (now Sanofi) including two years in their Paris office. Ms. Stacey currently serves on the board of directors of Context Therapeutics.
Ms. Stacey graduated with an A.B. from Princeton University and earned her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
Board of Directors