Hacking Metabolism to Treat NAFLD
Posted 15th December 2017 by Laura Berry
Multifactorial diseases require a safe, multifunctional and integrated approach to treatment. Based on this recognition, a new class of therapeutics, called Defined Amino Acid Compositions (DAACs™), are being pioneered by Axcella Health.
DAACs are rationally designed compositions of multiple amino acids in proprietary ratios. They leverage the inherent diversity and synergy of amino acid biology to simultaneously target multiple networks of dysregulated pathways within the body, allowing for an integrated approach to targeting complex diseases. In short, DAACs “hack metabolism” by eliciting a multifunctional effect through the cell, which in turn integrates the desired effects and functions of the designed AA compositions.
Through the company’s Axcellerator™ platform (a blend of cell biology, bioinformatics, in vivo pharmacology, and signal seeking clinical studies), the scientific teams at Axcella are leveraging proprietary insights to build a pipeline of DAAC candidates.
The lead program focuses on the development of DAACs for liver diseases spanning non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) which includes NAFL (simple steatosis at the earliest stage) and NASH (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, the next progressive state) in both adult and paediatric populations. NASH can further progress to cirrhosis and its complications including variceal bleeding, hepatic encephalopathy, frailty, and liver cancer.
Currently, there are no approved therapies for NAFLD. However, NAFLD is closely associated with type 2 diabetes and obesity and is a heterogeneous disease, making it an ideal indication for the multifunctional effect of DAACs.
Manu Chakravarthy is the Chief Medical Officer and Senior VP of Clinical Development at Axcella Health. Manu will be presenting on the intersection of diabetes at the NASH Congress in February.
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