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The curse of NASH strikes again. Pfizer releases funds in early stage liver disease

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Liver doctor holding liverPfizer is not alone in its struggles to bring a NASH drug to market. (Shidlovski/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Another NASH drug bites the dust. This time it’s Pfizer’s early-stage danuglipron, which the drugmaker tossed because of liver disease.

The GLP1 agonist, also known as PF-06882961, will no longer be promoted as a potential treatment for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, according to Pfizer’s website and second-quarter earnings report. According to ClinicalTrials.gov, the 22-person phase 1 trial ended in January, but Pfizer has not yet released the results. According to the earnings filings, trials with a GLP1 agonist for the treatment of obesity and diabetes appear to be continuing.

It’s not even the first NASH drug to be dropped from Pfizer’s pipeline. Big Pharma pulled the ketohexokinase inhibitor PF-06835919 after a mid-stage study a year ago, and previously stopped PF-05221304 and a DGAT2 inhibitor for liver disease.

Pfizer dropped mid-stage NASH prospect, killed early efforts in Q2

But Pfizer still has other irons in the fire, including a combination of two experimental therapies — ervogastat and clesacostat — that the FDA granted fast-track designation in May. And just last month, Pfizer invested in Akero Therapeutics, which has two Phase 2 trials of potential drugs for NASH.

Big Pharma is not alone in its struggles to bring a liver disease drug to market. In November 2021, Bristol Myers Squibb announced a mid-stage failure of the NASH asset, which has now been shelved.

Fierce Biotech has contacted Pfizer for further details on the discontinuation of danuglipron.

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