CymaBay halts liver drug studies

Nov. 25, 2019

CymaBay Therapeutics announced that it is stopping several liver disease studies after liver damage was detected in some patients.

The company announced this week that biopsies revealed “atypical” findings including autoimmune hepatitis. The patients involved in one of the mid-stage studies were taking the medication for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and had shown symptom improvements in the disease.

The company is also halting two other mid-stage studies for patients with primary sclerosing cholangitis and primary biliary cholangitis. 

Autoimmune hepatitis can cause the body’s immune system to attack liver cells and in some cases, lead to liver failure.

There is currently no standard treatment for NASH and the market value could reach an estimated $20 billion by 2030. Both Gilead Sciences and Conatus Pharmaceutical Inc. were also forced to abandon NASH drug studies earlier this year.