Novo Nordisk has granted $9.57 million to the University of California San Diego NAFLD Research Center for a clinical trial that aims to assess the effectiveness of semaglutide in treating patients with fibrosis resulting from nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD is currently the second leading cause for liver transplantation in the U.S., impacting around 24% of adults. Although many potential treatments are being explored, none have received FDA approval yet.
Recent advancements in glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists for weight loss, such as Ozempic and Wegovy (semaglutide, Novo Nordisk), have shown promise in reversing fatty liver disease in patients with type 2 diabetes and obesity, who are more susceptible to NAFLD. Dr. Rohit Loomba, the director of the NAFLD Research Center at UC San Diego School of Medicine, emphasized the significance of this grant, stating that it marks a crucial step towards enhancing the health of individuals with NAFLD.
The grant will fund the phase 2 SAMARA clinical trial, which will investigate semaglutide as a potential treatment for NAFLD in high-risk patients. The trial is set to involve 120 patients with type 2 diabetes and obesity, who will be randomized to receive either Ozempic or a placebo. The study will employ non-invasive screening methods suitable for real-world primary care settings. After the initial SAMARA study concludes, a more extensive international trial is planned.