On July 7, Intercept Pharmaceuticals released new results from the continuation of the REGENERATE trial and announced their intent to file a new NDA for obeticholic acid (OCA) in NASH fibrosis. In this conversation, Stephen Harrison leads Jörn Schattenberg, Louise Campbell and Roger Green in considering whether the evidence in the new release will be sufficient to get the drug approved.
REGENERATE Redux: Clearing The Finish Line?
Stephen starts by noting that we have not heard anything about the results of the REVERSE trial, which evaluated obeticholic acid (OCA) in patients with compensated cirrhosis. As he notes, even if OCA is not approved for cirrhosis, many hepatologists will consider giving this drug to cirrhotic patients, particularly compensated cirrhotics who face a significant worsening of their condition in a fairly short period of time.
Jörn comments on this briefly to agree that the cirrhosis data will create a complete data set, then returns to the pruritus issue. Mostly, his point about cirrhosis is that given the high placebo rate suggests there is “something about how the question is asked.” He finishes this comment by discussing the importance of getting a first drug approved and stating his anticipation of what happens when FDA reviews these data.
Roger goes on to note that he has a unique experience in this group: he has discontinued a drug therapy based on pruritus (in his case, a cancer drug). Having lived through that experience, he expresses skepticism that pruritus that resolves on discontinuation will be a reason for the drug to be rejected. Stephen concurs, and Roger goes on to state that the perceived cardiovascular risk in 2020 made sense as a reason not to approve, but not pruritus. Stephen and Louise concur that we will not know the entire story until we know the lengths to which providers went to keep patients in this study, but both are hopeful (and pretty much expect) that while there may be boundaries on patient types and guidance on treatment, the case for approval appears likely to succeed.
During the second half of this conversation, panelists share their common hope that this data will be sufficient to get OCA approved and discuss what this could mean for the entire Fatty Liver stakeholder community.