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Liver Disease

August 30, 2010

Immuron issued positive results from a phase I/II trial evaluating two formulations of their hyper-immune bovine colostrum powder, Imm122-I and Imm124-E, for the treatment of the liver disease non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). The open label trial enrolled 20 subjects with NASH at the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, Israel. The subjects were treated for 30 days: one group received two oral capsules, each equivalent to 100 mg Imm122-I three times a day and the other group received two oral tablets a day, each equivalent to 200 mg Imm124-E BCP. The trial demonstrated an improvement in liver function, as measured by a reduction in serum liver enzyme levels. An improvement was also seen in insulin resistance, based on fasting blood glucose levels, oral glucose tolerance test and HbA1c levels. Decreased lipid levels were seen in 70% of the subjects and 70% also showed an increase in regulatory T-cells. Both of the formulations were very well tolerated and there were no adverse events.

May 17, 2010

Raptor Pharmaceuticals issued positive results from a phase IIa trial of delayed-release cysteamine bitartrate for the treatment of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a progressive liver disease. This open label study enrolled 11 adolescents who were managing the disease through diet and exercise. All subjects had baseline levels of the liver enzymes alanine transaminase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) that were at least twice normal levels The subjects received twice-daily, escalating oral doses of up to 1,000 mg of delayed-release cysteamine bitartrate for six months. A marked decline in ALT levels was observed during the treatment period, with 7 of 11 subjects achieving a greater than 50% reduction and 6 of 11 reduced to within normal range. AST levels also saw significant improvements, with an average 41% reduction by the end of the treatment phase. The reduction in liver enzymes was largely sustained during a six month post-treatment monitoring phase. Other liver function markers also showed positive trends. Levels of cytokeratin 18, a potential marker of disease activity, decreased by an average of 45% and the levels of adiponectin, the reduction of which is related to disease pathogenesis and progression, was increased by an average of 35%. Treatment was generally well tolerated.

April 19, 2010

Intercept Pharmaceuticals issued positive results from a phase II trial of INT-747 (obeticholic acid) for primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC). This double blind, placebo controlled, dose response study enrolled 165 subjects with alkaline phosphatase (AP) values greater than or equal to 1.5 times the upper limit of normal and who had an inadequate response to ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) treatment. The subjects were randomized to one of three doses of INT-747 (10 mg, 25 mg or 50 mg) or placebo, both added to UDCA therapy, taken once daily for 12 weeks. The primary endpoint was reduction in AP levels at the end of the treatment period. All three doses of INT-747 significantly lowered AP by 21-24.7% with absolute values decreasing by 66-77 U/L compared to a 2.6% (5 U/L) reduction in the placebo group (p<0.0001 for all three doses). Two other liver enzymes, gamma glutamyl transferase (GGT) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT), were also reduced following treatment with INT-747. GGT was reduced by 48-63% in the three treatment groups compared to a 7% increase in the placebo group (p<0.0001 for all three doses) and ALT was reduced by 21-35% in the treatment groups with no change for placebo (p<0.005 for all three doses). The treatment was generally well tolerated.

May 21, 2007

NicOx and Axcan announced negative results from a phase IIa trial of NCX 1000 for the treatment of portal hypertension. This double-blind, dose-escalating trial enrolled 11 subjects who were randomized to receive either placebo or escalating doses of NCX 1000 (500mg, 1000mg and 2000mg as the first three doses during the first two days). This was followed by 2000mg (or the maximum tolerated dose) three times a day for the following 14 days. The primary endpoint was portal pressure on day 16 compared to baseline. Secondary endpoints included the same comparison after consumption of a controlled meal as well as response rate, increase of liver blood flow, safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics. Results revealed a positive safety and tolerability profile. However, treatment with NCX 1000 did not provide the efficacy required to continue this trial or move into future trials. Based on the results NicOx and Axcan have agreed to terminate the development of NCX 1000.

May 22, 2006

Intercept Pharmaceuticals has announced positive results of a phase Ia trial of their investigational farnesoid X receptor agonist INT-747 for the treatment of liver tissue damage (fibrosis and obstructed bile flow) in patients with chronic liver diseases including hepatitis C viral infection, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis related to obesity, and primary biliary cirrhosis. Trial data indicated a positive preliminary tolerability profile, with no serious adverse events reported across the dosing range. This open-label, study enrolled healthy volunteers, who received single escalating doses of the drug. Based on these results, the company announced plans to initiate a phase Ib multiple-dose trial of the drug in June 2006.

December 8, 2003

Jerini AG reported positive results from a phase IIa trial investigating Icatibant (JE049), a B2 antagonist for the treatment of refractory ascites from liver cirrhosis. Results showed that the study met all primary endpoints of improved sodium and potassium excretion, urine flow, and body weight. No severe drug related adverse events during treatment were reported. The randomized crossover, placebo-controlled study enrolled subjects with decompensation (Child Pugh score 5-8). The subjects were challenged with water /sodium load and their capacity to deal with the increased sodium load was assessed. Further analysis of other parameters is ongoing.