GSK could pay Arrowhead $1B to develop NASH RNAi therapeutic 

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals (NSDQ:ARWR) has signed an exclusive license agreement with GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK) related to Arrowhead’s experimental RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutic ARO-HSD.

The drug is now the subject of a Phase 1/2 study focusing on the drug’s potential as a treatment for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which involves liver inflammation and can cause cirrhosis and liver failure.

ARO-HSD has “the potential to be the first investigational therapeutic to achieve robust reductions in mRNA and protein levels of hepatic HSD17B13, leading to reductions in ALT, a liver enzyme typically elevated in liver diseases such as NASH,” said Christopher Anzalone, Arrowhead’s president and CEO, in a statement.

In exchange for an exclusive license to develop and commercialize the drug throughout the world apart from in China, GSK will make an upfront payment to Arrowhead of $120 million. GSK stands to earn an additional $30 million once the Phase 2…

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The promise of mitochondria-based therapeutics for NASH

Liver with signs of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Image courtesy of NIH.

Although nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is one of the most common types of chronic liver disease in the U.S., it is a disease that is unfamiliar to many Americans. Despite this, its prevalence is increasing, and by some estimates, 27 million Americans will be living with NASH by 2030.

NASH is a progressive condition that starts with excess fat buildup in the liver, leading to inflammation and liver damage. While the cause of NASH is unknown, it is associated with a broader set of metabolic disorders. Important risk factors include elevated triglyceride or cholesterol levels, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity, particularly with body fat concentrated around the waist. NASH is also more prevalent in certain ethnic groups, including Asian and Hispanic populations. While there are generally no symptoms until late in t…

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Noninvasive liver exam plays role in fighting viral hepatitis and fatty liver disease

 The FibroScan device pictured here assesses liver stiffness using Echosens patented VCTE technology.

Millions of Americans who are living with hepatitis C virus (HCV) will develop a chronic infection that, if left untreated, can cause serious health problems, including liver disease, cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer. More than one-third of HCV-infected individuals progress to advanced fibrosis and cirrhosis, and among those with cirrhosis, about 3–5% per year develop decompensated cirrhosis or hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

Nearly one-third of Americans have asymptomatic liver disease, also known as fatty liver disease (FLD). Approximately 85 million Americans have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). In addition, a total of 20% have its more severe form, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

Liver disease often leads to developing other issues, such as advanced fibrosis, increased risk…

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