Last weekend, over 400 liver disease stakeholders gathered in Scottsdale, Arizona for the 2nd Annual Liver Connect Conference, sponsored by the Chronic Liver Disease Foundation (CLDF). The main meeting ran Friday and Saturday and was preceded on Thursday by a half-day session devoted exclusively to NASH (NASH Connect). Episode 15 and its conversations capture some of the thinking that went into the program design and some highlights of the NASH-related sessions.
This conversation starts by focusing on how the meeting was organized. As President Zobair Younossi first explained in Conversation 15.1, CLDF opted for a design that was heavy on group discussions among leading KOLs, light on scientific presentations. In 15.2, Mazen Noureddin talked about having to get through 42 slides in 12 minutes, which left little time for commentary and no time for jokes. So, SurfingNASH asked, how well did the format work.
In the eyes of the panelists (all of whom except Louise Campbell and Roger Green were panelists at the meeting as well), it worked quite well. Marcelo Kugelmas puts it best when he says, “Most of the people that came to the meeting knew what we were talking about, and rather than being put to sleep by a long lecture, they were stimulated by the conversations and back and forth and point counterpoint of those experts that were involved in the different sessions. And I think it happened in pretty much every session.”
From there, Roger Green notes that this conference and NASH-TAG, while quite different, “book end” the first quarter quite nicely and then asked what panelists wanted to see as next year’s focus. The consensus: drugs if we have approvals (unlikely that quickly); non-invasive tests if not (and then drugs the following year). As the conversation ends panelists appear upbeat both about the conference they just finished and, more important, the future of Fatty Liver disease.
This episode and conversations are sponsored by Madrigal Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company pursuing novel therapeutics for NASH. Madrigal’s lead candidate, resmetirom, is a once daily, oral, thyroid hormone receptor (THR)-β selective agonist that is designed to target key underlying causes of NASH in the liver. Resmetirom is currently being evaluated in two Phase 3 clinical studies, MAESTRO-NASH and MAESTRO- NAFLD-1, designed to demonstrate multiple benefits in patients with NASH. For more information, visit www.madrigalpharma.com.