Galecto Biotech AB receives its initial financing in a Seed round co-led by Merck Serono Ventures and Novo A/S

Lund, January 2, 2012

Galecto Biotech AB today announcd its formation of Galecto Biotech AB. Founded by a group of international top-level scientists and biotech executives, the company is supported by Novo A/S, Merck Serono Ventures and Forskarpatent. Galecto Biotech will develop modulators of galectins, initially focusing on novel galectin-3 inhibitors, which have demonstrated the potential to treat a range of debilitating diseases.

Newly formed biotechnology company Galecto Biotech AB will focus its activity on developing novel drugs for the treatment of fibrosis, inflammation and other serious human diseases.
Galecto Biotech AB received its initial financing in a Seed round co-led by Merck Serono Ventures and Novo A/S

Galecto Biotech’s founding team includes Professors Hakon Leffler, Ulf Nilsson and Tariq Sethi and Dr. Hans Schambye. Professor Leffler (Lund University) was one of the first scientists to discover this important class of proteins. Professor Nilsson ( Lund University) is a world authority in carbohydrate chemistry and is leading the identification of potent galectin modulators. Professor Sethi (King’s College, London) is an expert in fibrosis and pulmonology, and has helped characterize galectins’ role in liver, kidney and lung diseases. Dr. Hans Schambye, a seasoned biotech entrepreneur with extensive experience in drug discovery and development, was appointed CEO of Galecto Biotech AB.
“It is a great pleasure to work with such outstanding scientists and committed investors. Our team has shown that galectin-3 is an optimal drug target, and that blockade with our inhibitors can open new possibilities for treating fibrosis and potentially other debilitating diseases,” said Dr. Hans Schambye, CEO of Galecto Biotech.
“Galecto Biotech is a very promising company based on cutting edge science and world leading experts in the galectin area,” says Stephan Christgau, Novo Seeds, Novo A/S. “We are excited to finance this company together with Merck Serono Ventures, and look forward to help advance its programs. Galecto Biotech is again an example of how the Pre-Seed grants, which we administer on behalf of the Novo Nordisk Foundation, can help scientists transition their projects from an academic setting to a start-up company”. Stephan Christgau will join the Company’s board of directors.
“This is a unique opportunity to work with a world-class team to explore new biology that is relevant in several of our therapeutic areas of interest,” says Roel Bulthuis, Head of Merck Serono Ventures. “Galecto is a great fit for our investment strategy and we look forward to supporting the team in their activities,” he added. Merck Serono Ventures’ Jasper Bos will join the Company’s board of directors.
Forskarpatent i Syd which has supported the founders concerning intellectual property rights will become a major shareholder in the company. Bert Junno, CEO of Forskarpatent, declared: “It is satisfying to see that one of our projects receives funding from two leading venture investors, Merck Serono Ventures and Novo A/S. It shows the strength of our strategy of helping leading researchers take their projects from academia to the industry. We have followed the galectin project for many years, and are excited to be part of Galecto’s efforts to identify new drugs to treat patients that suffer from serious diseases ”.

Galectins or galactoside binding lectins are a group of proteins, which have been shown to be involved in many disease processes. The galectin modulators developed by Galecto Biotech have shown promising effects in several disease models, including fibrosis, inflammation and cancer.
Fibrosis, which has been selected as the lead indication for the company, is recognized as a serious complication of several diseases, as it weakens the function of various organs such as the lungs, kidneys, liver and gastrointestinal tract. Prolonged, untreated fibrosis may gradually develop into organ deterioration and can be fatal to the patients.

About Novo Seeds
Novo A/S is the holding and investment company of the Novo Group, and is wholly owned by the Novo Nordisk Foundation. Novo A/S was formed in 1999 to actively manage the assets of the foundation. It employs about 30 people and has approximately USD 15 billion of assets under management. These includes significant shareholdings in the publicly listed Novo Nordisk A/S (NYSE: NVO) and Novozymes A/S (NVZMF.PK), Novo A/S provides seed, venture and growth capital to development stage companies within life science and biotechnology, as well as manages a broad portfolio of financial assets. Novo A/S is committing up to USD 300 million annually to its investments in seed, venture and growth equity life science companies. Novo Seeds was launched in September 2007 as a new initiative from Novo A/S and the Novo Nordisk Foundation to provide funding for early stage projects and seed financing of new life science companies in Scandinavia.
For more information, visit www.novo.dk

About Merck Serono Ventures
Merck Serono Ventures is the strategic, corporate venture capital fund of Merck Serono, the division for biopharmaceuticals of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. The fund was started in 2009 with the mandate to invest in early-stage innovative technologies with the potential to impact Merck Serono’s core therapeutic areas: Neurodegenerative Diseases, Oncology, Rheumatology, Fertility and Endocrinology.
For more information, visit www.merckserono.com

About Forskarpatent i Syd
Forskarpatent specializes in the commercialization, through licensing or new venture spinouts by refining patentable inventions emanating mainly from Swedish universities. Forskarpatent holds a portfolio of several life science projects in the format of shares in spinouts, partnered (licensed) and still unpartnered assets.

About Galecto Biotech AB
Galecto Biotech is a newly founded company, focused on developing novel drugs for the treatment of fibrosis, inflammation and other serious human diseases. The company’s products target galectins, a group of proteins that play important roles in many disorders. Galecto Biotech’s high potency galectin inhibitors may open new treatment possibilities for many patients. The company, which is located in Lund, Sweden, is led by top-level scientists and biotech executives. Galecto Biotech is located in Lund, Sweden, with close proximity to the founders’ research groups.
For more information, visit www.galecto.com

For further information please contact:
Hans Schambye
CEO
Info[at]Galecto.com
Tel: +45 26 3737 26