Abbott Buys Potential Kidney Injury Drug

Abbott Laboratories is expanding its pipeline into renal care drugs with a new addition, a potential kidney treatment from the privately held Danish company Action Pharma, Abbott announced May 3.

The company will pay $110 million to buy the compound, which is in midstage clinical testing, according to an Associated Press report. The drug is designed to prevent acute kidney injury in patients undergoing major cardiac surgery.

Action Pharma recently completed a phase IIb clinical trial evaluating the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of AP214 in preventing kidney injury and systemic inflammatory response in patients undergoing cardiac surgery.

According to Action Pharma, more than 500,000 patients each year in the United States and in the European Union undergo major thoracic surgery. About 10–20 percent of these patients experience various degrees of kidney injury, which is associated with a marked increase in death, comorbidity, and prolonged hospitalization.

Currently, there is no treatment to prevent or treat kidney injury associated with major thoracic surgery, Action noted. “There is a major unmet medical need,” the company stated on its website.

The AP214 molecule targets systemic inflammation and cellular death caused by lack of blood flow, which may happen when a patient is in surgery.

Abbott noted that this purchase would enhance renal care drugs under development, which include two potential treatments for chronic kidney disease.

Abbott will own the global rights to develop and sell AP214 to prevent acute kidney injury. It will not make milestone or royalty payments to Action Pharma, Abbott said. The deal would have Abbott incur a second-quarter charge tied to its payment, the company said.


Action Pharma develops novel drug candidates targeting melanocortin receptors. Action brings these candidate compounds to the point of clinical proof of concept and then seeks partners, like Abbott, capable of bringing drugs to market. The drug candidates at Action Pharma are the first in several new drug classes, according to company literature.

Last August, the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology published two studies on acute kidney injury showing that this common but preventable complication after surgery could benefit when doctors used biomarkers to assess the condition. Three protein measurements indicated which patients might have a high risk for the development of kidney injury.

June 2012 (Vol. 4, Number 6)