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Akero’s Fatty Liver Disease Drug Lessens Scarring In Mid-Stage Trial

Akero Therapeutics has reported promising results from its mid-stage trial of an experimental drug for metabolic dysfunction-associated steatohepatitis (MASH), a type of fatty liver disease. The drug, efruxifermin, demonstrated a significant reduction in liver scarring after nearly two years of treatment, marking a potential breakthrough in addressing this condition for which there are currently no approved drugs.

The trial, which enrolled 128 MASH patients with scarring or fibrosis at stage two or three severity, showcased encouraging outcomes. Following 96 weeks of treatment, biopsies revealed that efruxifermin led to a reduction in liver scarring by at least one stage in 75% of patients receiving the higher dose and 46% of those on the lower dose, compared to 24% for placebo. Additionally, a noteworthy proportion of patients experienced a reduction in scarring by at least two stages, further highlighting the drug’s efficacy.

The positive results prompted a surge in Akero’s stock price, with shares rising by 19% to $33.09 in morning trade. Analysts noted that the observed benefits of efruxifermin surpassed those of other treatments tested in separate trials for the disease.

While these findings are promising, further validation will be required through late-stage trials. Akero remains optimistic about the potential of efruxifermin to address the unmet medical needs in the MASH market, which could potentially reach multi-billion-dollar levels.

Notably, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to make a decision on a rival drug by next Thursday, further underscoring the urgency and importance of advancing treatment options for MASH.

Overall, these results represent a significant step forward in the development of therapies for MASH, a condition that affects millions of individuals worldwide. Akero’s commitment to addressing this pressing medical need reflects its dedication to improving patient outcomes and tackling diseases with high unmet needs in the field of liver health.


Joan David-Leonhard

Joan David Leonhard is a recent Pharm.D graduate with a strong passion for the pharmaceutical industry and a particular interest in pharmaceutical media and communication. Her brief internship experience includes roles in pharmacy where she built strong patient-pharmacist relationships and a pharmaceutical media internship where she actively contributed to drug information articles, blog posts, social media engagement, and various media projects.
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