NORCROSS, Ga. and NATICK, Mass., Jan. 27, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Galectin Therapeutics Inc. (Nasdaq:GALT), the leading developer of therapeutics that target galectin proteins to treat fibrosis and cancer, and SBH Sciences, Inc., a world leader in cell-based assays to measure biological activity and developer of cytokines, growth factors, biologics and monoclonal antibodies, jointly announce the establishment and formation of Galectin Sciences, LLC, a collaborative venture to research and develop small organic molecule inhibitors of galectin-3 for oral administration. Using computer molecular modeling techniques coupled with in vitro screening of a variety of compound libraries, SBH Sciences recently identified several small organic molecules with promising galectin-3 inhibitory activity in vitro. Galectins, a class of proteins made by many cells in the body, are known to be markedly increased in a number of diseases including scaring of organs and cancers of many kinds. Galectin Sciences, a Georgia-based LLC jointly owned by Galectin Therapeutics and SBH Sciences, will allow the companies to collaborate in further development of these unique organic molecule inhibitors of galectin-3 as drug candidates as well as discovery of additional candidates. Galectin Sciences will build on the scientific body of knowledge amassed by SBH Sciences, coupled with Galectin Therapeutics' knowledge and expertise of galectins' pathological role and mechanism of action in inflammation, fibrosis and many cancers. The long-term goal of this effort is to identify and develop drug candidates that are highly specific galectin inhibitors which may be formulated for oral administration. The intermediate term goal is the development of small molecule inhibitors of galectin-3 which exhibit activity in in vivo preclinical disease models of fibrosis and cancer in which galectins play a key role. Dr. Raphael Nir, President and Chief Science Officer, SBH Sciences, said: "We are excited and honored to partner with Galectin Therapeutics, a company that we have provided services for more than 10 years. This unique moment is a transformational point for SBH Sciences and represents the shift in our business model from service provider to biotechnology company. Targeting of galectin-3 by small organic compounds is a unique opportunity to resolve significant unmet medical needs, and Galectin Therapeutics is the ideal partner. I am confident that the mutual trust and the dedication of the two teams, combined with the vast expertise that has been built by SBH Sciences over the past 16 years, will enable us to potentially bring new galectin inhibitors into clinical development and human clinical trials."