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Galectin Therapeutics Soars on Positive Melanoma Treatment Data

Galectin Therapeutics jumps after positive data from its melanoma treatment.
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Galectin Therapeutics  (GALT)  skyrocketed Friday after the biopharmaceutical company reported positive data from a clinical trial for its treatment for metastatic melanoma and head and neck cancer.

Shares of the Norcross, Georgia, company were up 39% to $3.84 on Friday.

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Galectin Therapeutics said it saw positive top-line clinical data from the extension cohort of a Phase 1b clinical trial of Belapectin in combination with Keytruda for patients with metastatic melanoma and head and neck cancer.

The extension study enrolled nine melanoma patients and five head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cancer patients.

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The data showed cancer control rate of 56% in melanoma and 40% in head and neck cancer for patients treated with a combination of Belapectin and Keytruda or pembrolizumab.

Compared to an earlier study, the cohort in this extension study was heavily pretreated with systemic therapy, including chemotherapy, immunotherapy with checkpoint inhibitors and cytokines, melanoma mutation-directed therapies, as well as surgery and radiation therapies, the company said.

Patients also had a high burden of metastasis, with the lungs, soft tissues, and the liver being the most frequently involved organs. four of the nine melanoma patients had a choroidal (ocular) tumor as a primary site of their cancer and had also developed liver metastasis.

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The combination of Belapectin and pembrolizumab was well tolerated and appeared safe.

The most frequent adverse reaction related to pembrolizumab, in six patients, was mild pruritus, or itching, a known and labeled side-effect of pembrolizumab. No adverse event was deemed related to belapectin.

“Patients in this extension cohort had a significantly higher tumor burden when enrolled as compared to the initial study, and I view these results as encouraging," Brendan Curti, the study's principal investigator, said in a statement.