The American Society of Nephrology has signed a memorandum of understanding with the HHS to establish the Kidney Innovation Accelerator, also known as KidneyX, research program.
Both groups hope that KidneyX will spur the development and commercialization of innovative technologies and therapeutics in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of kidney diseases.
“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,” ASN president Mark D. Okusa, MD, FASN, said. “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.”
ASN, which has said it will commit $25 million to the research program, said innovation is needed to address the “poor treatment options” available to kidney disease patients today, and KidneyX will help fund new research to expand the types of therapies available to patients. That includes providing merit-based, non-dilutive funding to promising innovators selected through a series of prize competitions; encouraging better coordination across HHS with the NIH, FDA and CMS to help clarify the path toward commercialization of new products; and creating a sense of urgency to develop new therapies.
With KidneyX, “HHS sends an important message to investors and innovators regarding the desire and demand for new therapies,” Bruce D. Greenstein, the agency’s chief technology officer, said. Greenstein announced HHS’s commitment to launch KidneyX in partnership with ASN and the broader medical community at ASN Kidney Week in November 2017.
In a separate announcement, advocacy group Kidney Care Partners (KCP) praised the launch of KidneyX.
“Since the Department of Health and Human Services first proposed the Kidney Accelerator project last year, the entire kidney community has been excited by the prospect of a partnership that could propel the development of much needed breakthroughs in care,” Allen R. Nissenson, MD, FAC, chair of KCP, said. “Today’s announcement of the official launch of KidneyX adds important momentum to KCP’s long-held mission of expanding research and development that can bring enhanced therapies and innovative products to the market.”
KidneyX’s first round of prize funding will focus on accelerating the commercialization of next-generation dialysis products, including creation of a bioartificial or bioengineered alternative to dialysis.