KidneyX Accelerator Holds Promise for Fostering, Speeding Innovations in Kidney Care

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A new effort to foster the development of innovative technologies and therapeutics in the kidney space is on the horizon.

A signed Memorandum of Understanding between ASN and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) established the Kidney Innovation Accelerator (KidneyX), a public-private partnership. KidneyX aims to prevent kidney diseases while improving the lives of the 850,000,000 people worldwide who are currently affected by accelerating innovation in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of kidney diseases. KidneyX will award prize funding to promising companies, enabling and accelerating the commercialization of more products to benefit people with and at risk for kidney diseases. Building off the success of similar public-private accelerators, KidneyX will engage a community of researchers, innovators, and investors to bring breakthrough therapies to patients.

With KidneyX, “HHS sends an important message to investors and innovators regarding the desire and demand for new therapies,” said HHS Chief Technology Officer Bruce D. Greenstein, who announced HHS’s commitment to launching KidneyX in partnership with ASN and the broader medical community at ASN Kidney Week 2017.

KidneyX will use a three-pronged approach to address the barriers innovators commonly identify as they look to bring new drugs and technologies in kidney care to market, bridging the gap between research and market-ready products.

First, the Accelerator will provide merit-based, non-dilutive funding to promising innovators selected through a competitive process. This funding will incentivize the accelerated development and commercialization of disruptive technologies in kidney care, such as a next-generation kidney.

Second, KidneyX will encourage better coordination across HHS with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in order to help clarify the path toward commercialization.

The third prong of KidneyX’s approach to accelerate innovation in kidney care is to create a sense of urgency to develop new therapies, much like the sense of urgency associated with other areas of healthcare including oncology, neuroscience, heart disease, and diabetes. An important part of this effort will be increasing interactions with the venture capital community and other investors who have previously shied away from the kidney space.

By opening pathways of collaboration among science, engineering, finance, and other disciplines, KidneyX aims to bring that same sense of urgency to innovators and investors.

“The urgency to develop better therapies and, ultimately, cures, is palpable to patients and their families on a daily basis. ASN applauds the commitment of HHS to fight kidney diseases, and is proud to partner with them in launching KidneyX and generating real change within the kidney community,” noted Mark D. Okusa, MD, FASN, ASN President.

The Kidney Health Initiative’s (KHI) Development of a Roadmap for Innovation in Renal Replacement Therapy project will serve as a resource for KidneyX. The KHI project aims to describe scientific, technical, and regulatory milestones needed to achieve the goal of creating a bioartificial or bioengineered alternative to dialysis as renal replacement therapy.

KidneyX’s first round of prize funding will focus on accelerating the commercialization of next-generation dialysis products and will begin accepting applications in late summer 2018. Individuals who are interested in learning more about KidneyX are encouraged to visit and join our mailing list.