The month of October is liver disease awareness month, and this week we want to shed light on the liver disease non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, also known as NASH. NASH is a sub-group of the very common non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Approximately 26.2 million people are currently diagnosed with NASH, and the numbers are expected to rise by a drastic 63% by 2030.1,2 Although a huge number of the world’s population suffer from NASH already, there are currently no approved therapies on the market for this disease. With a rapidly increasing market potential, and a growing pipeline of drugs in clinical stages, the race to the finish line is on.

What is NASH?

Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis is a condition where the buildup of fat in the liver causes liver inflammation and damage. It’s part of a larger group of liver disease known as non-alcohol fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Without treatment, the disease progresses, causing more damage leading to liver scarring, and can eventually lead to cirrhosis.

What causes NASH and what are the risk factors?

The exact reason behind why some people with a buildup of fat in the liver develop NASH and others don’t is unknown. There are, however, several known risk factors such as obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and high triglycerides and metabolic syndromes. NASH is more common in people over the age of 40 that also has one or more of the known risk factors.

References:

  1. Informa (2019) Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Epidemiology. July 2019. [Online] [Accessed 16 Oct. 2019] https://service.datamonitorhealthcare.com
  2. Estes, C. et al., Modeling the epidemic of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease demonstrates an exponential increase in burden of disease. Hepatology, 2018. 67(1): p. 123-133.
  3. Informa (2019) Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Forecast. July 2019. [Online] [Accessed 16 Oct. 2019] https://service.datamonitorhealthcare.com;
  4. Analysis by MSC based on data from Medtrack (Available with paid subscription)
  5. Boehringer Ingelheim (2019). Boehringer Ingelheim Expands Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) R&D Pipeline With New First-in-Class Compound from Yuhan Corporation [Online] Available at: https://www.boehringer-ingelheim.com/press-release/collaboration-yuhan-corporation-nash [Accessed 16 Oct. 2019]
  6. GENFIT (2019). GENFIT and Terns Pharmaceuticals Announce $228M Strategic Partnership to Develop and Commercialize Elafibranor in Greater China [Online] Available at: https://www.genfit.com/press-release/genfit-and-terns-pharmaceuticals-announce-228mm-strategic-partnership-to-develop-and-commercialize-elafibranor-in-greater-china/ [Accessed 16 Oct 2019]
  7. Takeda (2017). Takeda and HemoShear Therapeutics Enter into Exclusive Drug Discovery Partnership in Liver Diseases [Online] Available at: https://www.takeda.com/newsroom/newsreleases/2017/hemoshear2/ [Accessed 16 Oct 2019]