Reno, NV-based Renown Institute for Health Innovation (IHI) has teamed up with Gilead to study nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Under the terms of the collaboration and license arrangement, Gilead will fund Renown IHI’s efforts to sequence and analyze the DNA of 15,000 people who have been diagnosed with NASH or nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in addition to a control group of 40,000 people in Nevada.
NASH, a disease similar to cirrhosis of the liver, but which occurs in people who drink little or no alcohol, represents a health crisis by itself in the making. It is related to the epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Renown Health represents Nevada’s most comprehensive and integrated healthcare network—it maintains electronic health records for 1.02 million registered patients. IN 2016, Renown Health and the Desert Research Institute established the Healthy Nevada Project (HNP), the nation’s first community-based population health study.
Renown Health & Helix Partnership
In 2017, HNP initiated a partnership with Helix to leverage its population health services, Exome Exome+™ sequencing, and consumer engagement tools. The HNP is now an ongoing collaboration between Renown IHI, the Desert Research Institute, a global leader in environmental data and applied research, and Helix, a personal genomics company.
Gilead possesses a deep interest and expertise in diseases of the liver and represents one of the leading drug developers in the race for a NASH treatment. Included in its portfolio is selonsertib, firsocostat, and cilofexor in various combinations to treat NASH in several clinical trials.
By April it announced a partnership with Novo Nordisk to jointly develop combination treatments for NASH, with plans to introduce a POC trial for the combination of Gilead’s cilofexor and firsocostat with Novo Nordisk’s semaglutide. They also announced a three-year collaboration with insitro to use the firm’s technology platform for “the discovery of novel drug targets related to NASH” reported Biospace.
In the Spring, Gilead’s STELLAR-3 Phase III clinical trial of selonsertib in NASH failed to meet its primary endpoint as reported in a company press release.
The Foster City, CA-based sponsor noted at that time that they would partner with external collaborators such as PathAI and insitro to better understand NASH to advance their development programs.
Renown IHI Comments
Anthony Slonim, president, and chief executive officer of Renown Health report “Combining genetic sequencing with large sets of data can play a critical role in understanding and identifying serious health risks, including diseases like NASH.” He continued “We are excited to collaborate with Gilead to better understand the condition and its complexities. Any genetic variants identified in participants through the collaboration may be shared with the participants for patient care purposes.
Renown Health Background
A locally governed and locally owned, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving Nevada, Lake Tahoe, and northeast California. Renown is one of the region’s largest private employers with a workforce of more than 7,000. It comprises three acute care hospitals, a rehabilitation hospital, the areas most comprehensive medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest and only locally owned non-for-profit insurance company called Hometown Health.