Why Galectin Therapeutics Inc. Shares Jumped

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 Thersapeutics (NASDAQ: GALT  ) , a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical focused on developing therapies to treat fibrotic diseases and cancer, advanced as much as 12% after announcing the dosing of its first patient in the second cohort of a phase 1 study for GR-MD-02.

So what: The buzz surrounding GR-MD-02 is that it treats nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH, a serious disease characterized by fatty buildup in the liver that could affect as much as 5% of the U.S population, meaning there's a wide moat opportunity for treatment. This next dosing cohort will involve patients receiving four mg/kg of GR-MD-02, which is double the dose of the first cohort in its phase 1 dose-escalating studies. The first cohort, if you recall, demonstrated both safety and tolerability, which is the common primary endpoint of phase 1 studies.

Now what: Shareholders are certainly loving the relief rally on the heels of today's press release, but they should also realize that we haven't even hit the meat and potatoes of GR-MD-02's efficacy yet, which is what's really going to add some differentiation to this therapy. I would suggest not getting too wrapped up by the word "NASH" in any drug's indication at the moment, and would stick to the sidelines until we have top-line efficacy data from a mid-stage study.

Galectin shares may have soared today, but it'll likely have a hard time keeping pace with this top stock in 2014
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