About the Unmet Need
HepaRegeniX is actively developing developing a novel therapy for the treatment of acute and chronic liver diseases. Liver Diseases today represent a big unmet medical need due to:
- 2 million deaths per year worldwide
- 46% increase in deaths due to chronic liver diseases between 1990 and 2013
- A prevanlence of up to 6.9% depending on ethnicity
- A doubling of expected cases within the next 20 years
About the Therapeutic Target
The laboratory of Prof. Lars Zender and his research team at the University Hospital Tübingen, Germany identified Mitogen-Activated Protein (MAP) Kinase Kinase 4 (MKK4) as a key regulator of liver regeneration. Suppression of MKK4 gene expression by small RNA molecules demonstrated the regenerative capacity of hepatocytes even in severely diseased livers. These findings paved the way for the unique and promising therapeutic concept to develop small molecule MKK4 inhibitors.
Source: Wüstefeld et al., 2013, Cell
Experimental acute and chronic liver disease models indicated for MKK4 inhibition to:
- unlock/increase regeneration in impaired livers
- stabilize/protect hepatocytes
- suppress/revert fibrosis
- suppress/revert steatosis
About the Translation into the Clinic
Since inception in 2017, HepaRegeniX focused on discovery of new and proprietary MKK4 inhibitors which led to the identification of several preclinical drug candidates. Results from experimental, clinically relevant disease models further validated the concept that MKK4-inhibition improves the regeneration capacity of hepatocytes in affected organs and provided strong evidence for successful clinical development. MKK4 inhibitors appear to be applicable for the treatment of a broad range of liver diseases including development in Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH).