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Akero Therapeutics said Tuesday that an experimental medicine improved liver scarring at twice the rate of a placebo without worsening other symptoms — achieving the main goal of a mid-stage clinical trial involving patients with the fatty liver disease known as NASH.

If the encouraging study results are confirmed in later Phase 3 clinical trials, the Akero drug, called efruxifermin, could become an effective treatment for a chronic disease that has grown into one of the leading causes of liver transplantation and liver cancer.

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