Issue Date: January 2, 2017
Novartis picks up NASH drug
Novartis will pay $50 million up front for access to Conatus’ pan-caspase inhibitor emricasan, a small molecule in Phase II studies to treat nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). The deal adds another drug for the fatty liver disease to Novartis’ portfolio, which already includes an FXR agonist in Phase II trials. The companies will split the costs of a Phase IIb study of emricasan; if successful, Novartis will test it in combination with an FXR agonist. As new drugs offer cures for people with hepatitis C, NASH is forecast to become the leading cause of liver transplants by 2020.
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