Galectin Therapeutics to Present Update on its Belapectin Liver Cirrhosis Program at the 20th Edition of Discovery on Target meeting, in Boston, September 25-28, 2023
NORCROSS, Ga., Sept. 26, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Galectin Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: GALT), the leading developer of therapeutics that target galectin-3, today announced it will participate in the 20th edition of the Discovery on Target meeting, the industry’s preeminent event on Novel Drug Targets and Technologies. The Company will present an update on its belapectin liver cirrhosis program during the Fibrosis and Inflammation session. The presentation, titled “Targeting Activated Macrophages to Improve Liver Cirrhosis: The Discovery and Clinical Translation of Belapectin,” will take place Wednesday, September 27, at 2:25 PM EDT and will be delivered by Dr. Pol F. Boudes, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Galectin Therapeutics.
Boudes commented: “The role of activated macrophages in the establishment and progression of liver cirrhosis is predominant1. These cells, when activated, invade the liver, and produce galectin-3, a pro-inflammatory and pro-fibrotic molecule. Belapectin is a galectin-3 inhibitor that, thanks to its unique molecular structure, is captured by activated macrophages and can inhibit galectin-3 at its site of production. Liver cirrhosis has been a field that has been neglected for far too long by drug developers and the Discovery on Target meeting is an excellent opportunity to familiarize a large audience to the consequences of liver cirrhosis and portal hypertension and highlight the opportunity our belapectin program offers for patients affected by this severe disease.”
1 Ramachandran, et al. Single-cell technologies in hepatology: new insights into liver biology and disease pathogenesis. Nature Reviews Gastroenterology and Hepatology 2020;17:457-472.
Belapectin is a complex carbohydrate drug that targets galectin-3, a critical protein in the pathogenesis of NASH/MASH and fibrosis. Galectin-3 plays a major role in diseases that involve scarring of organs, including fibrotic disorders of the liver, lung, kidney, heart and vascular system. Belapectin binds to galectin-3 and disrupts its function. Preclinical data in animals have shown that belapectin has robust treatment effects in reversing liver fibrosis and cirrhosis. A Phase 2 study showed belapectin may prevent the development of esophageal varices in NASH cirrhosis, and these results provide the basis for the conduct of the NAVIGATE trial. The NAVIGATE trial (www.NAVIGATEnash.com), titled, “A Seamless Adaptive Phase 2b/3, Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Multicenter, International Study Evaluating the Efficacy and Safety of Belapectin (GR-MD-02) for the Prevention of Esophageal Varices in NASH Cirrhosis,” is fully enrolled, and further details are posted on www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT04365868). Galectin-3 has a significant role in cancer, and the Company has supported a Phase 1b study in combined immunotherapy of belapectin and Keytruda in advanced melanoma and in head and neck cancer. This trial provided a strong rationale for moving forward into a Company-sponsored Phase 2 development program, which the company is exploring.
About liver cirrhosis due to NASH/MASH and portal hypertension
Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), also known as MASH, has become a common disease of the liver with the rise in obesity and other metabolic diseases. NASH is estimated to affect up to 28 million people in the U.S. It is characterized by the presence of excess fat in the liver along with inflammation and hepatocyte damage (ballooning) in people who consume little or no alcohol. Over time, patients with NASH can develop excessive fibrosis, or scarring of the liver, and ultimately liver cirrhosis. Liver cirrhosis is further complicated by portal hypertension which is one of the main mechanism leading to decompensated liver cirrhosis. It is estimated that as many as 1 to 2 million individuals in the U.S. will develop cirrhosis as a result of NASH/MASH, for which liver transplantation is the only curative treatment available. Approximately 9,000 liver transplants are performed annually in the U.S. There are no drug therapies approved for the treatment of liver cirrhosis.
About Galectin Therapeutics
Galectin Therapeutics is dedicated to developing novel therapies to improve the lives of patients with chronic liver disease and cancer. Galectin’s lead drug belapectin is a carbohydrate-based drug that inhibits galectin-3, a protein which is directly involved in multiple inflammatory, fibrotic, and malignant diseases processes. Belapectin received a Fast Track designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The lead development program is liver cirrhosis caused by non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), also known as Metabolic dysfunction-Associated SteatoHepatitis (MASH), the most advanced form of NASH/MASH-related fibrosis. An additional development program of belapectin is in combination with immunotherapy (checkpoint inhibitors) for advanced head and neck cancers. Advancement of this additional clinical programs is largely dependent on additional financing and/or finding a suitable partner. Galectin seeks to leverage extensive scientific and development expertise as well as established relationships with external sources to achieve cost-effective and efficient development. Additional information is available at www.galectintherapeutics.com.
Forward Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements relate to future events or future financial performance, and use words such as “may,” “estimate,” “could,” “expect” and others. They are based on management’s current expectations and are subject to factors and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the statements. These statements include those regarding the hope that Galectin’s development program for belapectin will lead to the first therapy for the treatment of fatty liver disease with cirrhosis and those regarding the hope that our lead compounds will be successful in cancer immunotherapy and in other therapeutic indications. Factors that could cause actual performance to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements include, among others, findings of safety of a drug candidate are not indicative of the drug candidate’s efficacy; that trial endpoints required by the FDA may not be achieved; Galectin may not be successful in developing effective treatments and/or obtaining the requisite approvals for the use of belapectin or any of its other drugs in development; the Company may not be successful in scaling up manufacturing and meeting requirements related to chemistry, manufacturing and control matters; the Company’s current clinical trial and any future clinical studies as modified to meet the requirements of the FDA may not produce positive results in a timely fashion, if at all, and could require larger and longer trials, which would be time consuming and costly; plans regarding development, approval and marketing of any of Galectin’s drugs are subject to change at any time based on the changing needs of the Company as determined by management and regulatory agencies; regardless of the results of any of its development programs, Galectin may be unsuccessful in developing partnerships with other companies or raising additional capital that would allow it to further develop and/or fund any studies or trials. Galectin has incurred operating losses since inception, and its ability to successfully develop and market drugs may be impacted by its ability to manage costs and finance continuing operations. Global factors such as coronavirus may continue to impact NASH patient populations around the globe and further slow trial enrollment and prolong the duration of the trial and significantly impact associated costs. For a discussion of additional factors impacting Galectin’s business, see the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2021, and subsequent filings with the SEC. You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Although subsequent events may cause its views to change, management disclaims any obligation to update forward-looking statements.
Jack Callicutt, Chief Financial Officer
Galectin Therapeutics and its associated logo is a registered trademark of Galectin Therapeutics Inc. Belapectin is the USAN assigned name for Galectin Therapeutics’ galectin-3 inhibitor belapectin (GR-MD-02).