MetHealth: transforming obesity care

We are….

We are transforming obesity care

The obesity epidemic currently affects 650 million people worldwide. Chronic low-grade inflammation is a classic hallmark of obesity that increases the risk of numerous life-limiting complications including non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH-liver disease), cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and certain cancers.

Biomarkers to identify patients with obesity complications are a major unmet need, particularly for NASH. Liver biopsies are the gold standard for NASH diagnosis, but they are painful, can cause bleeding complications and only sample 1/50,000th of tissue area often resulting in misdiagnosis (false negatives). The development of therapeutics targeting NASH is a major area of interest for the pharmaceutical industry ($35 billion market), but efforts have been hindered due to a lack of sensitive biochemical biomarkers which is a barrier for clinical trial recruitment. Similarly, biomarkers to detect drug-induced liver toxicity are lacking and such a biomarker may provide an early safety warning prior to the onset of significant liver damage.

We help pharmaceutical companies/healthcare professionals identify patients with complications of obesity by providing a novel biomarker-based risk stratification platform with an accompanying risk-scoring algorithm. Unlike invasive liver biopsies, we offer a blood test that can sensitively detect liver inflammation, reducing barriers to clinical trial recruitment, eliminating pain for the patient and reducing diagnostic costs by 90%. Our solution is based on the proteins that are attached to high-density lipoprotein (HDL) (‘good cholesterol’) particles. Over 70% of HDL particles are derived from the liver, and therefore measuring the HDL proteome provides a proxy view of liver health, without the necessity for an invasive biopsy.


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Biologists and Computer Scientist

MetHealth team includes experienced researchers from UCD School of Medicine and UCD School of Computer Science…

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Award-winning project

  • NovaUCD company MetHealth declared UCD Start-up of the Year 2022
  • MetHealth came out on top at the UCD VentureLaunch accelerator and bagged €30,000 in prize money.

“This non-invasive test eliminates pain for the patient, is significantly more cost-effective than an invasive test, can lead to early interventions for high-risk patients and can aid clinical trial recruitment for new drugs targeting the liver.”

Dr Fiona McGillicuddy

Lead Researcher