Healthcare Stocks Up Briskly in Afternoon Surge; Galectin Therapeutics Surges on Announcement Speculation

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Healthcare stocks were rebounding Tuesday following several days of extended losses, with the NYSE Healthcare Sector Index adding 0.9% and shares of healthcare companies in the S&P 500 also climbing 0.9% as a group.

In company news, Galectin Therapeutics ( GALT ) jumped as much as 27% Tuesday, more than recouping Monday's steep slide in its share price after the biotech company said it will release results from Phase I testing of its GR-MD-02 drug candidate in patients with fatty liver disease with advanced fibrosis early next week.

Investors leaped on the nearly one-week notice for a March 31 news release and a pre-market conference call by CEO Peter Taber on April 1 as a positive omen for the drug. The company said it will issue data from the first of three eight-person co-horts begun in early January and randomized to have six patients treated with GR-MD-02 and two others receiving a placebo.

The early-stage trial was intended to evaluate safety, tolerability and efficacy of single and multiple doses of GR-MD-02, a complex carbohydrate drug that targets a protein critical in the pathogenesis of fatty liver disease and fibrosis. Pre-clinical data has shown success for the drug reversing fibrosis and cirrhosis, GALT said.

GALT shares were ahead 12.3% at $16.39 apiecein recent trade, earlier climbing to an intra-day high of $18.61, up 27.6%. The stock closed 6.5% lower Monday after the company reported a $21.9 million net loss, including one-time items, during 2013 compared with a $10.9 million loss during the prior year period. It had no revenues.

The company late Friday also filed a shelf registration to sell up to $100 million of its stock, debt or derivative securities. Selling shareholders also may offer up to 500,000 additional shares.

In other sector news,

(+) BGMD, Hits new 52-week high Tuesday after saying its BGM Galectin-3 test during three clinical trials correctly identified elevated levels of a protein marker in the bloodstream for severe cardiac events.

(-) PDEX, Launches offering to existing shareholders of subscription rights to purchase a pro-rata portion of the company's shares at $1.90 each by April 25. Proceeds will used to pursue strategic opportunities and for working capital.



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Referenced Stocks: GALT

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