3D InSight Human Liver Disease Platform will be used to screen effects of Akero lead program AKR-001 on underlying metabolic and fibrotic drivers of NAFLD and NASH.

Akero Therapeutics (Nasdaq: AKRO) and InSphero AG announced that Akero has selected InSphero’s 3D InSight Human Liver Disease Platform to characterize the physiological effects of AKR-001 in different types of liver cells. AKR-001 is designed to be a novel, long-acting FGF21 analog, currently being evaluated in a Phase 2a clinical trial for the treatment of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

“We believe AKR-001 has unique potential among investigational NASH therapies to restore whole-body metabolic balance while also acting directly to reduce inflammation and fibrotic scarring in the liver,“ said Tim Rolph, D.Phil., Akero Therapeutics Chief Scientific Officer and Co-founder. “With InSphero’s human in vitro liver disease platform, we will evaluate AKR-001’s effects on human liver cells to help contextualize results from our ongoing Phase 2a clinical trial.“

Akero will leverage InSphero’s 3D InSight Human Liver NASH Model to investigate the effects of AKR-001 on:

  • liver metabolism
  • pathways that induce stress and death of hepatocytes, the primary functional cells of liver
  • sentinel immune effector Kupffer cells
  • collagen-synthesizing hepatic stellate cells
  • NASH-induced fibrosis of the liver

“Our research partnership with Akero Therapeutics highlights the rapid adoption of our novel in vitro discovery platform for NASH and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease,” said Jan Lichtenberg, Ph.D., InSphero Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder. “AKR-001 shows great promise as a NASH therapy, and we are excited to be working with Akero as they perform rigorous efficacy and safety testing on their lead program.”