Ochre Bio Leadership Series — Eduardo Martins on NASH Clinical Development
Last year, Ochre Bio sat down (virtually) with Eduardo Martins, (who is now the CMO at Sagimet Biosciences), to discuss the challenges of clinical development in NASH/NAFLD and Ochre Bio’s novel approach. Eduardo has over 20 years of experience in biotech and pharma and has a proven track record in building and leading multi-functional global teams, as exemplified by his time as VP, Clinical Development at Abbvie. We are thrilled to have him as an advisor to the company.
In our discussion, Eduardo highlighted the importance of Ochre’s approach of rejuvenating livers for transplantation.
“Ochre Bio has revolutionary potential in the NASH research space for people in need of rejuvenated livers who would otherwise not live without it.”
In preclinical development to date, drug developers have been reliant on simple cell cultures, dominated by single cell types and lacking real biological complexity. In these simplistic models, monocultured cells gradually drift away from the real human state, resulting in unclear predictions of how drugs will perform in the human context in a clinical setting.
New approaches must be taken to generate models of disease that directly reflect human biology in order to validate efficacy for new therapeutics. Ochre Bio’s approach seeks to tackle this challenge by testing therapies directly in human tissue throughout their pipeline, and has a better, cheaper and faster approach to developing RNA therapies compared with traditional small molecule drug discovery.
Ochre’s human-derived experimental systems, which range from human liver slices to whole human livers sustained by machine perfusion, offer primary environments which maintain the full set of cell types found in the human liver.
“Ochre Bio targets a very niche area of research, covering a huge unmet need with an elegant approach. Working on human livers directly allows us to show results faster than other biotech companies by avoiding the need of using animal models for testing.”
Ochre Bio’s surgical partners at the University of Birmingham Group have showed that they can improve the use of marginal donor livers using normothermic machine perfusion (NMP). Ochre will look to take this one step further and completely reprogram the metabolism of fatty donor livers in order to improve outcomes for the patients who receive them, and ultimately use insights from these studies to create therapies for general diseases associated with the liver. Liver diseases remains the only top ten global killer on the rise.
Highlights of the talk with Eduardo are below.