Generation 2+ LICA antisense drug
AKCEA-ANGPTL3-LRx is a Generation 2+ ligand-conjugated antisense (LICA) drug designed to reduce angiopoietin-like 3 protein, or ANGPTL3. Studies have shown that elevated levels of the ANGPTL3 protein are associated with an increased risk of premature heart attacks, increased arterial wall thickness and multiple metabolic disorders, such as insulin resistance. In contrast, people with lower levels of ANGPTL3 have lower LDL-C and triglyceride levels and thus lower risk of heart attacks and multiple metabolic disorders. We and Akcea are developing AKCEA-ANGPTL3-LRx to treat multiple lipid disorders including rare hyperlipidemias and NAFLD and metabolic complications as well as rare diseases such as homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HoFH) and familial chylomicronemia syndrome (FCS).
About Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)
While some fat in the liver is normal, a significant percentage of individuals have elevated levels of liver fat. Individuals with excessive fat accumulation in the liver also have elevated risk of developing insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. These risks are further elevated in patients with hyperlipidemia, especially those with elevated triglyceride levels. The most common form of fatty liver disease is NAFLD, which is associated with obesity-related disorders even in patients who drink little or no alcohol and is characterized by the gradual accumulation of fat in the liver, or steatosis. One of the key causes of this condition is the Western diet, which is rich in processed foods with high fat and sugar content. In the early stages of NAFLD, patients typically experience steatosis that is slow-progressing. Over time, a subset of these patients progress to steatohepatitis, a more severe and progressive form of NAFLD characterized by chronic inflammation and liver-cell damage, called NASH. Over time, the chronic inflammation caused by NASH can lead to the formation of scar tissue in the liver, known as fibrosis. As scar tissue gradually replaces healthy liver tissue, blood flow is restricted, which can lead to the loss of normal liver function, cirrhosis, portal hypertension, liver cancer and ultimately liver failure. Currently, there are no approved treatments specifically for NAFLD or NASH. If the disease ultimately progresses beyond NASH, the only alternative is a liver transplant.