Faced with a PhIII flop in NASH, Gilead is sequencing 15,000 patients to find new drugs
Now well into its campaign to develop a new cocktail therapy for NASH — which has initially proved unsuccessful in its first pivotal study — Gilead is going back to the genetic drawing board in search of some added inspiration.
The big biotech has struck a deal with the Renown Institute for Health Innovation, offering to foot the bill for their work sequencing the genes of 15,000 people with NASH and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and compare them against a backdrop of 40,000 healthy people in Nevada.
NASH presents a growing market opportunity around the globe, and Gilead long ago forged its rep as an innovator in the clinic — though many from the original leadership team have now left the company. Its lead late-stage NASH drug selonsertib has been a flop in Phase III.
The new guard, though, is ready to go deep to find something that works.
“Combining the sequencing of protein coding DNA, with extensive electronic health record data will enable a deep analysis of the roles of genetics and environment in NASH incidence and progression,” said John McHutchison, the CSO at Gilead Sciences. “The analysis of these large datasets in collaboration with Renown IHI could help identify genetic variants that impact the risk of developing NASH and thereby advance the discovery and development of new treatments for this disease.”