Velocity Clinical Research, the leading multi-specialty clinical sites business, announced it has acquired Impact Research Institute (Waco, TX) and the clinical trials unit of Liver Institute Northwest (Seattle, WA), aggressively expanding its capabilities in liver disease research, including MASH (metabolic dysfunction-associated steatohepatitis) and MASLD (metabolic dysfunction-associated steatotic liver disease).
According to the NASH education program, MASLD, prevalent in Western societies, is primarily driven by the rising cases of obesity and type 2 diabetes. The prevalence of MASH is projected to surge by 63% from 2015 to 2030, making it a significant health concern, and it is anticipated to be the primary reason for liver transplants in the United States from 2020 to 2025. Despite its growing impact, there is currently no FDA-approved treatment available for this condition.
Velocity is a major player in this space with 23 sites capable of performing MASH/MASLD studies globally. With the two recent site acquisitions, Velocity adds two internationally renowned researchers and key opinion leaders (KOL) in liver disease research as principal investigators, Kris Kowdley, MD, AGAF, FAASLD, FACP, FACG, and Nadege Gunn, MD, CPI, who join Roland Kuchta, MD, in Germany.
Dr. Kris Kowdley received his medical degree from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, completed his residency at Oregon Health Science University and fellowship in gastroenterology and hepatology at Tufts University School of Medicine. Dr. Kowdley is internationally recognized as a clinician, educator, and researcher in the area of hepatology and has presented his research on liver diseases at more than 140 national and international meetings and scientific symposia. He will serve as Senior Scientific Advisor at Velocity.
Dr. Kris Kowdley said, “There is an urgent unmet need for new therapies to treat the MASLD epidemic. This disease affects more than 90 million Americans and up to 30% of the population worldwide. This epidemic has significantly increased the burden of healthcare needs globally, which is why finding effective therapies is so important.
“There are many challenges to therapeutic drug development for this condition. We need dedicated research centers like the ones Velocity has because of the challenges with patient enrollment and the need for specialized procedures and techniques. I’m looking forward to bringing new expertise and, along with Dr. Gunn and Dr. Kuchta, leading Velocity’s capabilities in liver disease research.”
Dr. Nadege Gunn is a Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist focused on finding therapies for liver related illnesses. Her work concentrates on linking cutting edge clinical trials in MASLD and gastrointestinal illnesses to the populations who need them desperately. She is a fellowship-trained gastroenterologist and board-certified in both internal medicine and gastroenterology. Dr Gunn is a Veteran of the United States Air Force and completed her GI/Hepatology Fellowship in San Antonio, Texas at San Antonio Military Medical Center.
Dr. Gunn commented, “We are fully prepared to make Velocity the first-choice site network for liver disease clinical trials worldwide. I have lofty ambitions for Impact Research Institute and felt that with the power of Velocity behind it, we could satisfy our insatiable appetite for scalability and growth, whilst maintaining our commitment to patient centricity and diversity.
“I am honored to serve in the role of Velocity’s Senior Scientific Advisor for its MASH CARE Council, that Impact Research’s COO will become director of corporate growth at Velocity, and to work alongside renowned Dr. Kowdley, an esteemed mentor and true pioneer in the field of hepatology at large, and Dr Kuchta. Together, we will ignite Velocity’s hepatology landscape and become a trusted source to all stakeholders for quality execution of the full breadth of liver research studies.”
Dr. Roland Kuchta has over three decades experience as a physician in gastroenterology and hepatology. He received his medical degree from the University of Leipzig, Germany. His research into cutting edge hepatobiliary techniques, gastroenterological endoscopic methods, and bowel disease have been published in universities across Germany and Sweden. For more than a decade he worked as a gastroenterology and hepatology physician before heading up the department at St. Georg Hospital in Leipzig. He advises on MASLD clinical trials at Velocity’s Lepizig site.
Velocity has over 80 locations globally and access to more than 220 principal investigators and one million patients. Velocity’s sites are fully integrated via a centralized infrastructure and common technology backbone, allowing for superior patient enrollment and consistent, high-quality data delivery. As a result, CROs and biopharma companies can benefit from simplified access to international clinical research.