Oklahoma-based Kirrhos Pharmaceuticals is developing a novel, first-in-class treatment
for a severe form of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease known as NASH
OKLAHOMA CITY — i2E, Inc., recently led an $850,000 seed investment in Oklahoma
City-based Kirrhos Pharmaceuticals, which is developing a therapeutic for NASH, a life-
threatening liver condition that afflicts up to 12 percent of adult Americans.
NASH — nonalcoholic steatohepatitis – is associated with a spectrum of diseases
centered around the liver, said David Martin, PharmD, Kirrhos Pharmaceuticals chief
executive officer. It is termed a “modern lifestyle disease” by the NASH Education
Program, a collaborative initiative by stakeholders in NASH research and treatment.
“It’s basically a lifestyle disease, brought on primarily by a high-fat diet,” Martin said.
“People that are at high risk for it are people who are overweight, may or may not have
diabetes or are prone to diabetes and have a generally poor diet.”
The investment into Kirrhos Pharmaceuticals includes $425,000 from the i2E-managed
Oklahoma Accelerate Fund, along with matching investment from Angel investors.
The seed investment will allow Kirrhos to conduct preclinical proof-of-concept research
into its therapeutic, Martin said. A successful proof-of-concept would lead to a larger
Series A investment round that could carry to company into clinical trials, he said.
“NASH is a debilitating and potentially fatal disease with no approved therapeutic
treatment on the market,” said Carol Curtis, Ph.D., i2E Management Company vice
president and director of investments. “If Kirrhos is successful, it will bring relief to
millions of patients in the U.S. and worldwide.”
Kirrhos is the first spinout from Oklahoma City-based Ascend BioVentures, a
pharmaceutical accelerator formed in 2018 as a subsidiary of i2E in partnership with the
University of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF) and the
Presbyterian Health Foundation.
The Oklahoma Seed Capital Fund is a state-appropriated investment fund managed by
i2E through the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology.
About Kirrhos Pharmaceuticals
Founded in early 2019, Kirrhos Pharmaceuticals is advancing a novel, “first-in-class”
therapeutic to treat a progressive non-alcoholic fatty liver disease known as NASH.