Allergan Enters the Attractive NASH Market



How attractive is the NASH market?

Although hepatitis C is the most common cause resulting in liver transplants today, NASH (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis) will replace it by 2030 and become the most common reasons for liver transplants. The diagnosis rate for the disease is expected to increase with the availability of non-invasive diagnostics such as Fibroscan.

With improved diagnosis rates, it’s expected that NASH treatment will shift to F2 and F3 populations from F4. F0 to F4 indicate the severity of fibrosis, with F0 meaning no fibrosis, and F4 indicating the most severe fibrosis or cirrhosis.

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As noted by Allergan (AGN) during its Tobira Therapeutics (TBRA) acquisition call, total sales in NASH market could reach $8 billion–$10 billion. This presents a significant opportunity for patients with unmet medical needs, and so companies involved in the development of NASH therapies will likely benefit.

Gilead Sciences (GILD) and Intercept Pharmaceuticals (ICPT) are also involved in NASH pipeline development.

Allergan’s NASH portfolio

Allergan enriched its NASH portfolio with the addition of Tobira’s Cenicriviroc or CVC, which is a DPP-4 inhibitor, and Akarna’s FXR inhibitor. CVC finished its Phase 2B trials and is expected to enter Phase 3 if its Phase 2 meets with FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) approval.

Investors might have gained faith in GILD’s NASH pipeline after seeing the high premium paid by Allergan for the two companies involved in its NASH therapy development. For exposure to Gilead, you can invest in ETFs like the iShares Russell 1000 Growth ETF (IWF).

Continue to the next and final part for a look at Gilead’s share price performance over the past year.


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