The pharmaceutical company Allergan has announced a major collaboration with Novartis.
This new arrangement between the pharma giants will see them test a new combination therapy approach for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis.
Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis is a progressive form of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease that is considered to be the fastest growing cause of liver cancer and liver transplant in the United States.
In order to achieve this, Allergan is expanding its research and development program.
The firms have signed a clinical trial agreement with this goal in mind.
Under the terms of the new collaboration, Novartis will conduct a Phase IIb study testing Allergan’s cenicriviroc (CVC).
This is a daily, oral phase through ready potent immunomodulator that blocks the chemokine receptors CCR2 and CCR5.
These are involved in inflammatory and fibrogenic pathways, and Novartis’ lead FXR agonist for the treatment of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis.
Early studies will focus on the safety, efficacy and tolerability of the new approach in treating this debilitating condition.
Currently, a multi-therapy treatment is advocated, but the collaboration will assess whether this is indeed the most effective.
Commenting on the cooperation between Allergan and Novartis, David Nicholson, chief research and development officer at Allergan suggested that the two companies are uniquely placed to investigate this matter.
“Our clinical collaboration with Novartis brings together our collective scientific and development expertise in NASH to focus on multi-therapy treatment, which is expected to be the most likely approach based on the multi-factorial aspects of this disease.”
Nicholson also proclaimed the effectiveness of the research and development division at Allergan.
“Collaboration with companies like Novartis will help us improve our understanding of the disease and deliver effective, high-value medicines for NASH patients. This is also another terrific example of Allergan’s Open Science Research & Development model in action.”
Allergan has gone to significant links to expand its operation in recent years, engaging in numerous acquisitions and mergers.
In particular, the corporation purchased the US biotechnology Tobira Therapeutics in a deal potentially worth up to $1.7 billion recently.
While Allergan’s acquisition of Akarna Therapeutics in a deal worth at least $50 million will secure itself access to a batch of experimental therapies for non-alcoholic steatohepatiti including CVC.
Allergan generating revenue in excess of $15 billion in the 2015 financial year, while the giant that is Novartis topped $50 billion dollars in this department.