Galectin Gains on Product News

Galectin Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:GALT) rose sharply Wednesday, after the company said a paper published in the peer-reviewed Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer provides further clinical evidence that using belapectin, a potent galectin-3 inhibitor, enhances tumor response in combination with Anti-PD-1 therapy.

The paper, titled “ Enhancing Clinical and Immunological Effects of anti-PD-1 with Belapectin, a Galectin-3 Inhibitor ” (doi:10.1136/jitc-2021-002371) describes results from an ongoing Phase 1 clinical study, a collaboration between Galectin Therapeutics and Providence Cancer Institute in Portland, Oregon.

Following the recent publication of positive preclinical results that showed the inhibition of galectin-3 in combination with an agonist anti-OX40 monoclonal antibody reprograms the tumor microenvironment to favor anti-tumor activity, the current study tests the clinical hypothesis that galectin-3 blockade with belapectin in combination with pembrolizumab enhances tumor response for patients with advanced MM or HNSCC.

In the study, as previously disclosed, an objective response was observed in 50% of MM (7/14) and 33% of HNSCC (2/6) patients. This compares favorably to published response rates on pembrolizumab alone.

The authors noted that the combination was associated with fewer immune-mediated adverse events than anticipated with pembrolizumab alone. In addition, the analysis of patients’ tumor tissue revealed reduced monocytic myeloid-derived suppressor cells and increased effector memory T-cell activation in responders compared with non-responders.

Also, an increased baseline expression of galectin-3 positive tumor cells correlated with clinical response.

GALT shares zoomed 45 cents, or 20.6%, to $2.61.