Hepatic and renal improvements with FXR agonist vonafexor in individuals with suspected fibrotic NASH

Vlad Ratziu, Stephen A. Harrison, Véronique Loustaud-Ratti, Christophe Bureau, Eric Lawitz, Manal Abdelmalek, Naim Alkhouri, Sven Francque, Hugo Girma, Raphaël Darteil, Harold Couchoux, Myles Wolf, Arun Sanyal, Jacky Vonderscher, Pietro Scalfaro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background & Aims: The LIVIFY trial investigated the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of vonafexor, a second-generation, non-bile acid farnesoid X receptor agonist in patients with suspected fibrotic non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Methods: This double-blind phase IIa study was conducted in two parts. Patients were randomised (1:1:1:1) to receive placebo, vonafexor 100 mg twice daily (VONA-100BID), vonafexor 200 mg once daily (VONA-200QD), or 400 mg vonafexor QD (VONA-400QD) in Part A (safety run-in, pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics) or placebo, vonafexor 100 mg QD (VONA-100QD), or VONA-200QD (1:1:1) in Part B. The primary efficacy endpoint was a reduction in liver fat content (LFC) by MRI-proton density fat fraction, while secondary endpoints included reduced corrected T1 values and liver enzymes, from baseline to Week 12. Results: One hundred and twenty patients were randomised (Part A, n = 24; Part B, n = 96). In Part B, there was a significant reduction in least-square mean (SE) absolute change in LFC from baseline to Week 12 for VONA-100QD (-6.3% [0.9]) and VONA-200QD (-5.4% [0.9]), vs. placebo (-2.3% [0.9], p = 0.002 and 0.012, respectively). A >30% relative LFC reduction was achieved by 50.0% and 39.3% of patients in the VONA-100QD and VONA-200QD arms, respectively, but only in 12.5% in the placebo arm. Reductions in body weight, liver enzymes, and corrected T1 were also observed with vonafexor. Creatinine-based glomerular filtration rate improved in the active arms but not the placebo arm. Mild to moderate generalised pruritus was reported in 6.3%, 9.7%, and 18.2% of participants in the placebo, VONA-100QD, and VONA-200QD arms, respectively. Conclusions: In patients with suspected fibrotic NASH, vonafexor was safe and induced potent liver fat reduction, improvement in liver enzymes, weight loss, and a possible renal benefit. Clinical trial number (EudraCT): 2018-003119-22. ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03812029. Impact and implications: Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) has become a leading cause of chronic liver disease worldwide. Affected patients are also at higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease. There are no approved therapies and only few options to treat this population. The phase IIa LIVIFY trial results show that single daily administration of oral vonafexor, an FXR agonist, leads in the short term to a reduction in liver fat, liver enzymes, fibrosis biomarkers, body weight and abdominal circumference, and a possible improvement in kidney function, while possible mild moderate pruritus (a peripheral FXR class effect) and an LDL-cholesterol increase are manageable with lower doses and statins. These results support exploration in longer and larger trials, with the aim of addressing the unmet medical need in NASH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)479-492
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Hepatology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • ALT
  • NASH
  • eGFR
  • farnesoid X receptor
  • fibrosis
  • liver fat reduction
  • randomised clinical trial
  • steatosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology


Dive into the research topics of 'Hepatic and renal improvements with FXR agonist vonafexor in individuals with suspected fibrotic NASH'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this