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Bristol-Myers Squibb, Nordic Bioscience Collaborate on Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Biomarkers

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Bristol-Myers Squibb and Denmark's Nordic Bioscience have announced a collaboration to develop biomarkers to help diagnose and monitor scar-tissue related to diseases of the liver.

Under the terms of the agreement, the partners will develop biomarkers and diagnostics to evaluate non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) in pre-clinical models of fibrotic diseases and in clinical settings.

Nordic Bioscience brings to the collaboration experience developing assays using collagens, elastins, and laminins as biomarkers of the extracellular matrix.

According to the National Institutes of Health, NASH is a form of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease where inflammation or other liver cell damage can lead to scarring. NIH estimates that 3 to 12 percent of adults in the US have NASH, which may progress to cirrhosis, liver cancer, or liver failure. BMS and Nordic Bioscience added in a statement that it is expected to be the leading cause of liver transplantation over the next 15 years and that there are no approved drugs for it.

"We continue to invest in innovative approaches to develop more precise methods to diagnose disease and monitor progression, and we are pleased to partner with Nordic Bioscience and leverage their vast experience in biomarker development," Mike Burgess, head of cardiovascular, fibrosis, and immunoscience development at BMS, said in a statement.

Last month, BMS signed a deal with Foundation Medicine to use the FoundationOne assay to profile the tumor microenvironment.