Galena Biopharma Inc (NASDAQ:GALE) announced that the Board of Directors has entered into a separation agreement with Mark W. Schwartz, Ph.D. under which Dr. Schwartz will resign from the company and its affiliates as the President, Chief Executive Officer, and member of the Board of Directors, effective today. The Board of Directors expects to appoint an Interim Chief Executive Officer in the next couple weeks.

The Board of Directors also announced that it is in the process of engaging an independent advisory firm to evaluate strategic alternatives for the company focused on maximizing stockholder value. Potential strategic alternatives that may be explored or evaluated as part of this review include continuing to advance the clinical programs as a stand-alone entity, a sale of the company, a business combination, merger or reverse merger, and a license or other disposition of corporate assets of the company. There is no set timetable for this process and there can be no assurance that this process will result in a transaction. While the Company evaluates its strategic alternatives, Galena’s investigator-sponsored immunotherapy trials will remain ongoing.  The Company is evaluating the appropriate time to commence the GALE-401 trial and anticipates making a definitive determination in the second half of 2017.

“After critical assessment of the current status of the company, we believe that it is the right time to run a strategic evaluation of our opportunities as we look to maximize value for our stockholders,” said Sanford J. Hillsberg, Galena’s Chairman of the Board of Directors. “We acknowledge Mark’s six years of service with Galena and wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Shares of Galena Biopharma are falling nearly 11% to $1.47 in early trading Wednesday. GALE has a 1-year high of $4.75 and a 1-year low of $0.16. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $1.96 and its 200-day moving average is $1.13.

On the ratings front, GALE has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on January 3, FBR analyst Vernon Bernardino reiterated a Buy rating on GALE, with a price target of $11.00, which implies an upside of 567% from current levels. On December 30, Maxim’s Jason McCarthy reiterated a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $4.00

According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Vernon Bernardino and Jason McCarthy have a yearly average loss of -21.8% and -19.3% respectively. Bernardino has a success rate of 21% and is ranked #4301 out of 4370 analysts, while McCarthy has a success rate of 29% and is ranked #4297.

Galena Biopharma, Inc. engages as a biopharmaceutical company committed to the development and commercialization of targeted oncology therapeutics that address major unmet medical needs. It focuses on identifying and advancing therapeutic opportunities to improve cancer care from direct treatment of the disease to the reduction of its debilitating side effects. Its products include Abstral (fentanyl) sublingual tablets and Zuplenz (ondansetron) oral soluble film.