A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo Controlled, Parallel-Group, Phase II Trial of JKB-121 for the Treatment of Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH)
JKB-121 is a long-acting small molecule that is efficacious as a weak antagonist at the TLR-4 receptor. It is a non-selective opioid antagonist which has been shown to prevent the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induced inflammatory liver injury in a methionine/choline deficient diet fed rat model of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. In vitro, JKB-121 neutralized or reduced the LPS-induced release of inflammatory cytokines, deactivated hepatic stellate cells, inhibited hepatic stellate cell proliferation, and collagen expression. Inhibition of the TLR4 signaling pathway may provide an effective therapy in the prevention of inflammatory hepatic injury and hepatic fibrosis in patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. This study will evaluate the safety and potential efficacy of two dose levels of JKB-121 (5 mg twice daily and 10 mg twice daily) in reducing liver fat and/or liver biochemistry compared to placebo in patients with biopsy-proven nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.