The American Society of Nephrology and the Department of Health and Human Services launch $1.5 million Phase 2 of prize competition to redesign dialysis


Today, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) launched the second phase of KidneyX: Redesign Dialysis, a prize competition that seeks to transform kidney care. Redesign Dialysis is part of a series of KidneyX prize competitions to catalyze the development of innovative solutions that can prevent, diagnose, and treat kidney diseases.

Redesign Dialysis Phase 2 seeks prototype solutions, or components of solutions, that can replicate normal kidney functions or improve dialysis access. Participants may compete in the second phase even if they did not submit a solution in the first phase. Prototypes should address at least one of the following areas: blood filtration, electrolyte homeostasis, volume regulation, toxin removal and secretion, filtrate drainage and connectivity, and dialysis access.

The competition calls on researchers, innovators, patients, and investors with expertise in nephrology, biotechnology, bioengineering, and medical devices to submit solutions by 5:00 p.m. ET on January 31, 2020. Up to three winners will each be awarded $500,000. Participants can find more information, including the submission requirements, judging criteria, and eligibility, in the prize announcement.

“Dialysis treatment has not changed substantially since it was first introduced over 60 years ago,” said HHS Chief Technology Officer Ed Simcox. “The pace of innovation in kidney care is unacceptable. Through KidneyX, we are creating a clear path for disruptive innovation in a $114 billion market.”

An estimated 850 million people worldwide are living with kidney diseases, including more than one in seven American adults. For people with kidney failure, the only treatment option other than a transplant is dialysis, which takes a serious toll. Dialysis patients typically spend 12 hours a week attached to a machine and their five-year life expectancy is worse than that of most cancer patients. The treatment is also extremely costly, with Medicare alone spending more than $35 billion annually for beneficiaries with kidney failure.

“We were thrilled to see the enthusiastic response to Redesign Dialysis Phase 1 from innovators across a spectrum of disciplines,” said KidneyX Steering Committee Chair Dr. John Sedor. “We’re building a strong community dedicated to developing breakthrough solutions that will change outcomes and transform patients’ lives.”

Redesign Dialysis Phase 1 invited participants to submit proposals on approaches that could enable the design of new artificial kidney devices, extending life and improving quality of life. This first phase received 165 submissions that ranged from innovations in vascular access and fluid filtration to innovations in hemodialysis and biosensors. The 15 Phase 1 winners each received $75,000.

“We know that building an artificial kidney will be a highly collaborative process, and Redesign Dialysis is driving critical advancements in this space,” HHS KidneyX Program Director Dr. Sandeep Patel said. “KidneyX is facilitating collaboration across the National Institutes of Health, Food and Drug Administration, and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to create a funding, regulatory, and payment landscape that can support accelerated innovation and investment.”

The KidneyX Artificial Kidney Prize is expected to launch in April 2020 and run for up to four years. It is designed to build on the goals of Redesign Dialysis and further advance the development of an artificial kidney that can replace enough physiological kidney function to sustain life and improve patient quality of life. HHS is seeking input on the Artificial Kidney Prize; responses to the RFI are due on or before December 13, 2019.