Bristol-Myers, Nordic Bioscience team up on NASH biomarkers

Doctors currently use a range of factors, including invasive liver biopsy, to diagnose NASH.

Bristol-Myers Squibb and Denmark’s Nordic Bioscience inked a deal to develop biomarker technology to diagnose and monitor fibrotic diseases such as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

Scientists have yet to determine the specific cause of NASH, the most serious type of nonalcoholic liver disease. Doctors use a range of factors—medical history, a physical exam, blood tests, imaging and invasive liver biopsy—to diagnose the condition, according to the NIH.

“There is a big unmet need in medical and drug development for simple noninvasive diagnostic, early proof of efficacy of intervention and prognostic biomarkers in the NASH field,” said Nordic Bioscience CEO Morten Karsdal, in a statement. “Nordic Bioscience is very proud to enter into this collaboration which will benefit the fibrosis field by advancing the research in fibrosis biomarkers for the benefit of patients.”

Under the collaboration, the pair will co-develop translational biomarkers and diagnostics for NASH. The tech is intended for use in preclinical models of fibrotic diseases and clinical settings, according to the statement.

This isn’t Bristol-Myers’ first foray into NASH. In November, the company forked over $100 million upfront for the worldwide rights to Nitto’s early-stage drugs for liver scarring. The lead candidate is in clinical trials for scarring due to hepatitis C infection or NASH.