May 09, 2018

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the American Society of Nephrology launch Kidney Innovation Accelerator

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kidneyxThe U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced a new partnership with the American Society of Nephrology to launch the Kidney Innovation Accelerator (KidneyX). KidneyX will engage a community of researchers, innovators, and investors to enable and accelerate the commercialization of therapies to benefit people with and at risk for kidney diseases through a series of prize competitions and coordination among federal agencies and the private sector.

More than 40 million Americans live with kidney diseases, and 703,243 experience kidney failure. With an aging population and rising prevalence of diabetes and hypertension, more Americans need dialysis than ever before. Patients with chronic kidney disease continue to have limited treatment options and are particularly vulnerable in natural disasters when local dialysis centers are damaged or closed for more than a few days.

“This program will bring much needed innovation for patients with kidney disease, which is an especially large problem for Alabamians due to the high incidence of diabetes and hypertension,” said Anupam Agarwal, M.D., director for the division of nephrology and executive vice dean for the UAB School of Medicine. “KidneyX could fund innovators working on the development of novel approaches in renal replacement therapies, transplantation, as well as other areas pertinent to kidney diseases wherein UAB has great strengths.”

To prevent kidney diseases as well as improve the lives of the 850,000,000 people worldwide currently affected, KidneyX will accelerate innovation in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of kidney diseases. KidneyX will address the barriers innovators commonly identify as they look to bring new drugs and technologies in kidney care to market by:

• Providing funding through prizes to promising innovators selected through a prize competition
• Encouraging better coordination across the HHS agencies including the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in order to help clarify the path toward commercialization
• Creating a sense of urgency to develop new therapies to treat chronic kidney disease

“By launching KidneyX, ASN and HHS have sent a clear signal that the kidney space is ripe for accelerating innovation in the fight against kidney diseases. KidneyX will serve as that catalyst while encouraging the venture capital community that has previously been reluctant to invest in kidney therapeutics to revisit it as a target for potential investments,” said ASN President, Mark D. Okusa, MD, FASN.

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