Abbott Pumps up Activity in Chronic Kidney Disease

Abbott Laboratories (Chicago) currently has about 20 drugs in midstage or late-stage clinical trials, versus about eight in 2009, and these include potential treatments for change to chronic kidney disease (CKD) as well as for multiple sclerosis and liver cancer.

Abbott has more drugs in its pipeline because of acquisitions and licensing deals, according to a report on the Wall Street Journal MarketWatch site. CKD has become an area of focus.

Recently Abbott had success with a midstage clinical trial for CKD patients with the oral drug bardoxolone methyl over 52 weeks, in which kidney function improved. A phase 3 trial is under way. “We had essentially nothing in phase 3 just a couple of years ago,” John Leonard, senior vice president of pharmaceuticals, research, and development at Abbott, said. “We’ve had a very aggressive in-licensing effort.” MarketWatch late last year reported that Abbott’s research pipeline is filling in anticipation of the loss of patent protection of its top-selling drug, Humira, an antiinflammatory medication.

For kidney patients, Abbott already offers Zemplar (paricalcitol) capsules, a form of vitamin D, to prevent and treat secondary hyperparathyroidism (increased parathyroid hormone levels) in people with stage 3 or stage 4 CKD and in people with stage 5 kidney failure who are receiving dialysis.

Abbott has provided nutritional products for two decades for kidney disease patients, and in its March announcement noted that new formulations have been rebranded as Nepro HP (high protein) and Nepro LP (low protein), formerly Suplena. These two products are available in select markets and will continue to launch globally over the next few years, the company said.