Ascletis’ Partner Sagimet Dosed First Patient in FASCINATE-2 Phase IIb Trial in NASH Patients with Moderate to Advanced Fibrosis


HANGZHOU and SHAOXING, China, Aug. 16, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Ascletis Pharma Inc. (HKEX:1672) today announces that its partner Sagimet Biosciences dosed the first patient in its FASCINATE-2 Phase IIb clinical trial for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

FASCINATE-2 is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase IIb clinical trial of approximately 330 NASH patients with moderate to advanced fibrosis (F2-F3). This trial will evaluate the impact of oral, once-daily doses of TVB-2640 (ASC40) for 52 weeks as assessed by biopsy. Patients will initially be randomized to receive placebo or 50 mg of TVB-2640 (ASC40). A 75 mg dose level of TVB-2640 (ASC40) is planned to be added to FASCINATE-2 following an open-label cohort in the FASCINATE-1 Phase IIa clinical trial.

Primary efficacy endpoints are:

  1. ≥ 2-point improvement in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) activity score (NAS) that results from reduction of necro-inflammation (inflammation or ballooning) ; or
  2. improvement in fibrosis.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accepted these two endpoints for Phase IIb studies in NASH. Liver biopsy data will also be evaluated to assess NASH resolution without worsening of fibrosis and/or improvement in fibrosis without worsening of NASH, both of which are endpoints accepted by the FDA for accelerated approval following Phase III studies. The study will also measure liver fat, assessed by magnetic resonance imaging-proton density fat fraction (MRI-PDFF), and other serum biomarkers of inflammation, fibrosis, and liver injury in a portion of patients at 26 weeks of treatment in an interim analysis.

In March 2021, Gannex Pharma Co., Ltd., a wholly-owned company of the Company., and Sagimet jointly announced positive topline results from the China cohort of a Phase II randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial of oral, once-daily fatty acid synthase (FASN) inhibitor ASC40, known as TVB-2640 outside of China (Details referring to press release: The preliminary data showed that ASC40 meaningfully reduced liver fat, the primary efficacy endpoint of this trial, with a 50% responder rate (patients achieving ≥30% liver fat reduction). Participants also showed robust improvement in ALT, a liver enzyme associated with inflammation. These data from the China cohort are consistent with those of the U.S. cohort.

Ascletis has obtained an exclusive rights from Sagimet to develop, manufacture and commercialize FASN inhibitors including ASC40 (TVB-2640) and all related compounds in Greater China for all indications such as NASH and oncology.

About Ascletis

Ascletis is an innovative R&D driven biotech listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (1672.HK). Ascletis is committed to developing and commercializing innovative drugs in the areas of NASH, cancer lipid metabolism and oral checkpoint inhibitors, and viral diseases, to address unmet medical needs both in China and globally. Led by a management team with deep expertise and a proven track record, Ascletis has developed into a fully integrated platform covering the entire value chain from discovery and development to manufacturing and commercialization. Ascletis has three marketed products and a robust R&D pipeline of drug candidates.

(1) NASH: Gannex, a wholly-owned company of Ascletis, is dedicated to the R&D and commercialization of new drugs in the field of NASH. Gannex has three clinical stage drug candidates against three different targets – FASN, THR-beta and FXR, and three pre-clinical stage combination therapies. (2) Cancer lipid metabolism and oral checkpoint inhibitors: a pipeline of oral inhibitors targeting FASN, which plays a key role in cancer lipid metabolism, and a pipeline of oral PD-L1 small molecule  next generation checkpoint inhibitors. (3) Viral diseases: (i) Hepatitis B: focus on breakthrough therapies for CHB clinical cure with a subcutaneously-injected PD-L1 antibody – ASC22 –and Pegasys® as cornerstone drugs. (ii) Hepatitis C: successfully launched an all-oral regimen of combining ASCLEVIR® and GANOVO® (RDV/DNV regimen). (iii) HIV/AIDS: ASC22, an immune therapy to restore HIV-specific immune responses and eventually lead to a functional cure of HIV-infected patients. For more information, please visit   

Source: Ascletis Pharma Inc.