On Thursday, Feb. 6, a panel of leaders in the kidney innovation community highlighted accomplishments made by KidneyX at a congressional briefing in Washington, DC, and called on Congress to support KidneyX.
The briefing, titled KidneyX: Accelerating the Future of Kidney Care, featured a panel of speakers representing the Department of Health and Human Services, the KidneyX steering committee, venture capital, kidney patients, and KidneyX prize winners.
Panel participants included Emily Levy, Principal of Synergy Partners, Kevin Longino, CEO of the National Kidney Foundation, Jeff Ross, CEO of Miromatrix, Ed Simcox, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of HHS, and John Sedor, KidneyX Chair.
During an hour-long discussion, the panelists spoke about the success of KidneyX’s initial prize competition ReDesign Dialysis Phase I, excitement over future prizes such as the forthcoming Artificial Kidney Challenge, the Patient Innovator Challenge, and ReDesign Dialysis Phase II (which received 70 submission according to a recent announcement), and several other topics including challenges facing innovation in the kidney space, and the need for Congress to support KidneyX by providing a $25,000,000 appropriation for KidneyX in FY 21.
“Prior to KidneyX there wasn’t an interest from the funding community in the kidney space … now we have seen a 50% uptick...proving that innovation really can take off” said Jeff Ross, CEO of the Minnesota based Miromatrix remarking on the impact of KidneyX. Kevin Longino, CEO of the National Kidney Foundation noted that KidneyX has become a “beacon of hope for #kidney patients.”
Emily Levy, principal of Synergy Partners, described how investment from venture capital can spur innovation, citing examples from oncology where similar investment rapidly increased the development of therapies and the large opportunity for profitable ventures now apparent in the kidney space. HHS CTO Ed Simcox explained that KidneyX is seeing much if its success from its ability to bring together many different stakeholders to create a pathway for accelerated development of new therapies, saying “one of the great things about KidneyX is that it has created a community of innovators."
“The take home message from today, it’s a really cool time in the kidney space and a lot of great things are happening” said John Sedor, KidneyX Chair. Sedor continued “it’s time to cure kidney disease… we need your help to do it, to get the appropriation in FY 21 to keep us going. We’re very grateful for the $5 million in FY 20 and were pushing for $25 million in FY 20.”