Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH, is notoriously under-diagnosed. It’s an advanced form of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, caused by buildups of fat in the liver, which affects more than 115 million people around the world. And estimates suggest that as many as nine out of 10 people with NASH go undiagnosed.
That severe under-diagnosis can be attributed to a variety of reasons. For one, many people experience no noticeable symptoms in the early stages of the disease, and a lack of familiarity with the disease can prevent them from linking any symptoms they do experience to NASH. For another, diagnosis typically relies on liver biopsies, which are invasive and not always accurate and can be risky to patients.
Noninvasive alternatives are beginning to become more accessible, however, and Echosens, the developer of one such offering, is on a quest to use its technology to vastly increase NASH screening. The latest leg of that journey ropes in Novo Nordisk, with the pair joining forces to increase both awareness of the disease and its diagnostic rate throughout the next few years.
Through their partnership, Echosens and Novo Nordisk will work together to bulk up the clinical and real-world evidence to back up Echosens’ FibroScan system as a valid option for NASH diagnosis and monitoring. In doing so, they’re aiming to vastly increase worldwide adoption of noninvasive screening methods for the disease from Echosens and other developers.
In addition, the duo also plan to launch an educational campaign that will raise awareness about NASH and the benefits of diagnosing and beginning treatment of the condition as early as possible.
Altogether, Echosens and Novo are aiming their team-up toward doubling the diagnostic rate for advanced to severe NASH by 2025, which could in turn help both companies continue to develop their diagnostic and therapeutic offerings for the disease.
“At Novo Nordisk we are committed to driving change in NASH, to develop new treatment options and advance care for this serious, chronic disease. An important step towards realizing that ambition is to ensure that we can identify the people in need of care,” said Camilla Sylvest, executive VP for commercial strategy and corporate affairs at the Big Pharma.
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