Why Galectin Therapeutics, Inc. Shares Soared

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Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Galectin Therapeutics (NASDAQ: GALT  ) , a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing therapies to treat cancer and fibrotic diseases, soared as much as 28% after issuing a press release regarding its phase 1 study of GR-MD-02 in fatty liver disease (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH) with advanced fibrosis.

So what: According to Galectin's press release, the company will be releasing results from the first cohort of its phase 1 clinical study which enrolled eight patients on Monday, March 31. Galectin CEO Peter Traber will lead a webcast and conference call the following day, April 1, at 8:30 a.m. ET. The thinking from investors is that a webcast and conference call from Traber is unlikely if GR-MD-02 didn't meet the company's expectations. Therefore, there's a good chance GR-MD-02 was safe and tolerable for this initial cohort of patients.

Now what: The real story here is that investors are chomping at the bit to get their hands on the next great therapy that could treat NASH, a disease that leads to fatty buildup in the liver and can potentially lead to cirrhosis and/or liver cancer. There are approximately 6 million people in this country with a more severe form of NASH, so the market potential for a NASH therapy is enormous. Investors also have Intercept Pharmaceuticalsovernight quadruple on their minds following its phase 2 study results in January, so Galectin shareholders are hoping for much of the same. The reality here is that we're merely looking at safety data and biomarker identification, with efficacy data set to come later down the road. Investors will want to keep that in mind when assessing this initial phase 1 data when it's reported early next week.

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  • Report this Comment On April 24, 2014, at 1:00 PM, rwestberg wrote:

    Your recent pronouncements regarding GALT & ICPT have me wondering about the depth of your investigations . You have given a great amount of support to ICPT i.e. recently stating that ICPT was still a buy when the stock was at $ 450. It’s now under $ 300. In contrast you diminished the results of the upcoming webinar by GALT’s President, Dr Traber BEFORE that event even occurred. How brazen.

    I feel that several facts regarding NASH are pertinent. 70 % of people with NASH will NOT show any symptoms and they will never have any health problems associated with the disease. 30 % of the people will have serious health problems as their NASH develops into liver cirrhosis. It’s then academic concerning stopping their NASH problem.

    In other words people aren’t going to be treated for a problem they have no way to know they have. The “bigger picture” is to have a drug that will treat liver cirrhosis and reverse it including the NASH problem..

    In this light the contrast between ICPT & GALT is glaring. To my knowledge ICPT is making no claims of reversing liver cirrhosis but only stopping NASH. GALT is proposing a drug to not only stop liver cirrhosis but to reverse it. Their claims are backed up by 100 % success with their animal studies and very positive results in their first part of their Phase 1 Clinical Test.

    I would suggest that you contact the principals at GALT and find out “the rest of the story”. Please contact GALT’s Chief Executive, Jim Czirr at

    208 263-6695


    Ralph Westberg

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Sean Williams

A Fool since 2010, and a graduate from UC San Diego with a B.A. in Economics, Sean specializes in the healthcare sector and in investment planning topics. You'll usually find him writing about Obamacare, marijuana, developing drugs, diagnostics, and medical devices, Social Security, taxes, or any number of other macroeconomic issues.

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8/31/2015 3:59 PM
GALT $2.21 Up +0.25 +12.76%
Galectin Therapeut… CAPS Rating: *