Galectin Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:GALT) investors are overwhelmingly excited today after the drug maker announced its plans to identify a strategic partnership for its galectin-3 inhibitor GR-MD-02 for the treatment of serious skin diseases, including moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis and severe atopic dermatitis.
In the wake of the announcement, Galectin shares jumped nearly 35% in early trading Thursday.
“The early clinical results in two severe skin diseases and the lack of significant adverse events with GR-MD-02 is very encouraging, and we plan on presenting complete data at a scientific meeting in the future,” said Simon A. Ritchie, M.D., staff dermatologist, chief of phototherapy and tele-dermatology at San Antonio Military Health System and principal investigator of the studies. “It is uncommon for patients with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis to spontaneously improve without treatment, and the patient with atopic dermatitis had not improved previously on multiple medications. I view continued development of this therapy as potentially important for patients with these skin diseases. ”
“The impressive preliminary clinical results of GR-MD-02 in both psoriasis and atopic dermatitis suggest that GR-MD-02 should be progressed in development to determine the potential role in skin disease treatment,” said Peter G. Traber, M.D., Galectin’s president, chief executive officer and chief medical officer. “While there are multiple approved agents for moderate to severe psoriasis, severe atopic dermatitis is currently an unmet medical need. GR-MD-02 could potentially be a safer therapy and drug cost may be less expensive for severe psoriasis than other recently approved drugs.”
“Exploring the potential for GR-MD-02 in severe skin disease will require additional clinical development that would include controlled clinical trials with different doses and intervals of administration to identify optimal regimens,” continued Dr. Traber. “To pursue continued development, Galectin will require a strategic partner to support the development program. To this end, the company has engaged a business development firm to identify potential strategic partners to develop a mutually beneficial partnership for GR-MD-02 in severe skin disease. Additionally, we will develop an advisory group of top dermatologist investigators to support these efforts.” (Original Source – please add link)
On the ratings front, Galectin has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on October 3, FBR analyst Vernon Bernardino downgraded GALT to Hold, with a price target of $2, which implies an upside of 217% from current levels. Separately, on September 29, H.C. Wainwright’s Ed Arce downgraded the stock to Hold and has a price target of $1.50.
According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Vernon Bernardino and Ed Arce have a yearly average loss of 23.0% and a return of 13.9% respectively. Bernardino has a success rate of 22% and is ranked #4076 out of 4205 analysts, while Arce has a success rate of 31% and is ranked #285.
Galectin Therapeutics, Inc. operates as a biotechnology company, which engages in drug research and development to create new therapies for fibrotic disease and cancer. Its drug candidates are based on the method of targeting galectin proteins, which are key mediators of biologic and pathologic function and its focus is on diseases with serious, life-threatening consequences to patients and those where current treatment options are limited.