Diagnostic device maker Echosens is teaming up with the NASH Network and the Kinetix Group to develop a real-world evidence framework to help standardize delivery and optimize care for patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.
Also known as fatty liver disease, NASH is projected to grow into a more than $20 billion global market in the next few years—with demand for liver assessments and care standards being driven by the same forces making liver disease a highly competitive drug development pipeline.
In addition, the chronic, asymptomatic condition is set to become the leading cause of liver transplantation in the U.S., with the disease affecting one in three Americans.
Through a pilot study, the trio aims to evaluate an interdisciplinary model for health systems—engaging primary care physicians alongside hepatologists, endocrinologists and other specialists—to help identify at-risk patients earlier.
Paris-based Echosens markets FibroScan, a noninvasive device that quantitatively measures liver stiffness and fat using a gel probe, as well as the FibroMeter blood test, which checks for liver fibrosis and cirrhosis. The Kinetix Group consultancy firm focuses on helping life science companies integrate the use of real-world evidence, including working with health systems and payers to build value-based delivery models.
Meanwhile, the NASH Network represents a consortium of health systems working to develop a set of best practices for NASH care, counting Geisinger, the Baylor College of Medicine, the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Ochsner Health System as charter members.
“While a majority of patients with [non-alcoholic fatty liver disease] will not advance to liver fibrosis or cirrhosis, it is critical to develop effective and efficient models to identify the subset of NAFLD patients with NASH in the settings where they receive care,” said Douglas Dieterich, a professor of medicine in the division of liver diseases at Mount Sinai, in a statement.
The NASH Network said it has partnered with academic medical centers that have expressed the importance of using Echosens’ FibroScan device as part of a standard workup to appropriately identify patients with progressive disease. A similar ultrasound device for assessing liver tissue stiffness developed by Philips received FDA clearance last year.