It’s estimated that over one million Americans and millions more worldwide suffer from liver cirrhosis. Globally, it accounted for over 1.2 million deaths in 2013, and it’s the 12th leading cause of death by disease in the United States, where 27,000 Americans die each year from the disease. Worldwide, 57 percent of cirrhosis is attributable to either hepatitis C or hepatitis B. Long-term alcohol abuse accounts for about 20 percent of cirrhosis-related deaths globally, while, in the United States, 40 percent of cirrhosis-related deaths are caused by alcohol abuse. Each of these disease drivers triggers the replacement of normal liver tissue with damaged scar tissue, which impedes blood flow and the liver’s ability to clean and purify blood.
Liver cirrhosis has multiple potential causes and often more than one of them can be found in the same patient. The disease’s most common complication is ascites, which is the abnormal accumulation of fluid in the abdomen, often accompanied by kidney dysfunction. This life-threatening condition causes severe suffering, frequent infections, and multiple complications that can lead to a painful death.
Currently, no approved medications to treat ascites are available. Diet change and drugs used off-label can provide some initial symptomatic relief, but, as the disease worsens, response rates fall. About 40 percent of patients die painfully within two years of diagnosis. The treatment costs for liver cirrhosis, including ascites and other complications, are deemed to be in excess of $4 billion annually in the U.S. alone.
The unquestioned human and financial toll of liver cirrhosis on patients, families, and society has created a real need for treatment solutions. One development stage biotechnology company, BioVie, Inc. (OTCQB: BIVI), is pioneering just such innovative treatment solutions. BioVie actively pursues the discovery, development, and commercialization of innovative drug therapies for liver diseases. Just four months ago, BioVie submitted an Investigational New Drug (IND) application for its initial drug candidate, BIV201, to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This new drug has the potential to become the first drug approved by the FDA to treat ascites due to chronic liver cirrhosis and could become the breakthrough treatment so desperately needed around the world.
For more information, visit www.BioVieInc.com