Japan-based Takeda Pharmaceutical has signed an alliance agreement with GE Healthcare for research and development of hepatic fibrosis.

Hepatic fibrosis is an important factor in the diagnosis and treatment of liver diseases.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, although the contract seeks to develop therapeutic drugs as well as new diagnostic technologies for liver diseases.

GE Healthcare Japan chairman Akihiko Kumagai said: "It is extremely gratifying to me that, through this collaboration, our technologies will be of use in the development of treatments for the liver diseases that are of particular importance not just in Asia, but worldwide."

Under the deal, GE Healthcare will provide its diagnostic imaging technology for Takeda to generate a liver stiffness map as part of the research and development work on liver diseases.

"Hepatic fibrosis is an important factor in the diagnosis and treatment of liver diseases."

The non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) are reported to be main cause of liver disease in developed countries, over the past few decades.

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Hepatic fibrosis diagnosis is currently carried out by a liver biopsy, under which a needle is inserted through the skin into the liver, a sample of which is removed for measurement.

Takeda Pharmaceutical chief medical and scientific officer Tadataka Yamada said: "It gives me great pleasure to be able to build this alliance with GE Healthcare to develop therapeutic drugs to treat liver diseases.

"This alliance will assist efforts to develop new therapeutic options that ease the burden on the patient. Moving forward, we will continue to put the patient first and incorporate a wide range of innovations into the field of drug discovery."

Image: Takeda Midosuji building, head office of Takeda Pharmaceutical company in Chuo-ku, Osaka, Japan. Photo: courtesy of J o, Wikipedia Commons.