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, GC4711, 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

J Mel SorensenDr. Sorensen has served as Director, Chief Executive Officer and President of Galera since 2012.

Dr. Sorensen serves on the board of several private biopharmaceutical companies as Chairman including OncoFusion Therapeutics, Esanik Therapeutics and Medsyn Biopharma LLC. 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.

Robert A. Beardsley, PhD

Chief Operating Officer

Dr. Beardsley, a co-founder of the Company, has served as our Chief Operating Officer since 2015, and from 2012 to 2017 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.

Dennis P. Riley, PhD

Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Riley co-founded Galera Therapeutics and has been Galera’s CSO since the founding.

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 PhD at 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 Ohio State University Devon Meek Memorial Lectureship, is the recipient of the 2003 Herman S. 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 US Patents granted, and has published over 100 primary scientific articles.

Jon T. Holmlund, MD

Chief Medical Officer


Dr. Holmlund is a medical oncologist who has served Galera as Chief Medical Officer since October 2012.

He has over 25 years’ experience in oncology drug development, in senior positions in industry (CMO of Ascenta Therapeutics, 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.

He received his MD from SUNY Buffalo and completed postgraduate training in internal medicine and medical oncology at George Washington University Medical Center (Washington, DC).

Chris Degnan

Chief Financial Officer

Chris DegnanMr. 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.

He 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.


Board of Directors