NORCROSS, Ga., Aug. 12, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Galectin Therapeutics (Nasdaq:GALT), the leading developer of therapeutics that target galectin proteins to treat fibrosis and cancer, today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted GR-MD-O2 (galactoarabino-rhamnogalacturonate) Fast Track designation for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) with hepatic fibrosis, commonly known as fatty liver disease with advanced fibrosis. Galectin Therapeutics is currently conducting a Phase 1 clinical trial to evaluate the safety, tolerability and exploratory biomarkers for efficacy for single and multiple doses of GR-MD-02 over four weekly doses of GR-MD-02 treatment in patients with fatty liver disease with advanced fibrosis. The study will enroll eight patients in each dose escalation cohort and there will be at least three cohorts and potentially up to five cohorts, with a maximum of 40 patients at six clinical sites in the US, which each have extensive experience in clinical trials in liver disease. More information on the first-in-man Phase 1 clinical study of GR-MD-02 is available at http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01899859?term=gt-020&rank=1 . "Our preclinical data has shown that GR-MD-02 has robust treatment effects in reversing fibrosis and cirrhosis. Fast Track designation enables us to expedite the compound's development and review process, with the ultimate goal of bringing a first-in-class treatment to the millions of Americans suffering from fatty liver disease with advanced fibrosis," said Dr. Peter G. Traber, President, Chief Executive Officer, and Chief Medical Officer of Galectin Therapeutics Inc. "We are very pleased that the FDA sees the clinical value of GR-MD-02 and seriousness of fatty liver disease, and we look forward to working closely with the FDA throughout this process." The FDA's Fast Track program is designed to expedite the review of new drugs that are intended to treat serious or life-threatening conditions and demonstrate the potential to address unmet medical needs.