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Collaboration Announced to Develop Hadassah Drug to Treat “Untreatable” NASH Liver Disease

Friday, Aug 5 2016

Hadasit, the Hadassah Medical Organization’s technology transfer company, has signed an agreement with BioLineRx Ltd. to develop a drug to treat non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), based on the pre-clinical work of Hadassah’s Prof. Rifaat Safadi, head of its Liver Unit. Currently, there are no Federal Drug Administration-approved treatments for NASH.

NASH is the progressive form of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and, in many cases, leads to cirrhosis of the liver and, ultimately, liver cancer. This “in-licensing agreement” represents a partnership between two companies with shared intentions, goals, and fields of interest. "Under the collaboration,” explains Dr. Kinneret Savitsky, Chief Executive Officer of BioLineRx,” Novartis will provide us with valuable professional advice and consultancy throughout the development process. This project fits our strategic focus on the immunology space, since it works through modulation of the immune system.”

The drug candidate, to be called BL-1210, offers a novel mechanism for controlling liver fibrosis, the scarring process that represents the liver's response to injury. When scar tissue builds up and takes over most of the liver, cirrhosis is the result. By modulating the immune system, the drug would reduce scarring and control the disease’s progression.

As Hadasit explains about the Hadassah Medical Center on its website, “The combination of practical experience, the ability to pinpoint medical needs, and cutting-edge research has yielded a huge potential for ideas, innovation, and developments in all aspects of medicine, including therapeutics, diagnostics, and medical devices. Founded in 1986, Hadasit has been investing in turning ideas into viable products and services for the benefit of humanity.”

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