Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical Company has collaborated with US-based biotechnology company HemoShear Therapeutics to discover and develop new therapeutics for liver diseases, including non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

NASH is a serious, chronic liver disease characterised by inflammation and excessive fat accumulation in the liver, which may lead to fibrosis, cirrhosis, liver cancer and eventually liver failure.

As part of the collaboration, Takeda will use HemoShear’s disease modelling platform REVEAL-Tx that applies principles of physiological blood flow to tissue derived from patients.

The latest platform enables drug candidates to be evaluated at human concentrations and offers significant insights into complex pathophysiological pathways by replicating human disease with precision.

Takeda GI Drug Discovery Unit head Dr Gareth Hicks said: “The ability to study pathophysiology in a human multi-cell system is crucial for our understanding of disease and how to develop best-in-class therapies.

“The ability to study pathophysiology in a human multi-cell system is crucial for our understanding of disease and how to develop best-in-class therapies.”

“We see the HemoShear platform as an integral component in our overall liver disease strategy that focuses on a ‘human first’ approach to the identification and validation of novel targets in NASH and other liver diseases.”

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Under the deal, HemoShear will receive upfront payments, and research and development funding, while Takeda will receive exclusive access to HemoShear’s disease modelling platform to discover and develop new therapeutics for specific liver diseases.

HemoShear will also be eligible to receive milestone payments of potentially $470m in addition to further royalties.

There is currently no available treatment for NASH and liver fibrosis that has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Image: Micrograph of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Photo: courtesy of Nephron via Wikipedia.