"The treatment of NASH (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis), which currently has no pharmaceutical cure, is expected to become very big business within the next several years, reaching tens of billions of dollars in the next decade. Yet there are a couple of important limiting factors to achieving anything near this potential with the NASH drugs under development:
- There is a need for a convenient, reliable diagnostic technique, in order to have a large market.
- The ultimate success of competing drugs will depend on their ability to treat comorbidities.
The NASH population is estimated at 2-5% of Americans, with similar prevalence in the EU, China and other countries. With 250 million adults and an estimated treatment cost of $3000/year, the current potential U.S. market is on the order of $15B and could reach $35B by 2025. But this market cannot be tapped to any significant degree without an advancement in techniques for diagnosis and monitoring.
NASH is not easily diagnosed and its treatment is not easily verified. Currently, the only way to verify the condition and its successful treatment is by biopsy. A minimally invasive test is needed to make detection and follow-up easy for physicians and patients, or the treatments will never gain a wide patient base."