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 (GALT -3.03%), 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 Pharmaceuticals' overnight 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.