Research & Development
At Akebia, we are inspired to think boldly and move bold thinking into action. We leverage our scientific expertise and this innovative thinking to develop clinical advances in areas that are important to people living with kidney disease.
We thrive as collaborators because we believe that we can go further together. We work with partners across the globe to pioneer and grow new areas of research and development.
We are optimistic and want to have a positive impact. Each day we bring our drive to life with the work we do.
Anemia is a condition in which a person does not have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It can commonly occur in people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) because their kidneys do not produce enough erythropoietin (EPO), which is a hormone released into the blood to help regulate the production of red blood cells. Anemia affects approximately 5.7 million people with CKD in the U.S. alone. Left untreated, anemia deteriorates patient health and is associated with increased morbidity and mortality in people with CKD.
Injectable erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) have been the standard of care for treating anemia due to CKD in both dialysis dependent and non-dialysis dependent patients since the early 1990s. Beginning in the mid-2000s, however, ESA use in CKD became more conservative amid evidence showing that use was associated with elevated risk of cardiovascular events, stroke, and death.
We believe new treatment options for anemia are not only needed, but also possible. Here at Akebia, we are leading a change by working to advance innovative therapies to better the lives of people living with kidney disease.
Approximately number of people with CKD affected by anemia in the U.S. alone.
*Based on third party prevalence data and company estimates
Innovating to Protect the Kidneys
Our lead product candidate, vadadustat, is part of a new class of investigational agents called oral hypoxia-inducible factor prolyl hydroxylase inhibitors (HIF-PHIs), which are based on Nobel Prize-winning science. HIF PHIs are designed to mimic the body’s response to lower levels of oxygen, such as when a person is at high altitude. The body naturally responds to lower oxygen levels by increasing the availability of HIF, which is a protein that coordinates the expression of the genes responsible for erythropoietin synthesis and the regulation of iron metabolism. Inhibition of hypoxia-inducible factor prolyl hydroxylase (HIF-PH) can lead to increased red blood cell production and improved oxygen delivery to tissues.
Vadadustat is an investigational drug that has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or any regulatory authority for use outside of Japan. Within Japan, Vadadustat is approved as a treatment for anemia due to CKD in both dialysis-dependent and non-dialysis dependent adult patients.
In May 2020, we announced positive top-line results from the INNO2VATE program for vadadustat in adult patients on dialysis (incident and prevalent dialysis patients). In addition, Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation (MTPC), our development and commercialization collaboration partner in Japan and certain other Asian countries for vadadustat, obtained approval of vadadustat as a treatment for anemia due to CKD in both dialysis-dependent and non-dialysis dependent adult patients by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare in Japan on June 29, 2020. Vadadustat will be marketed by MTPC in Japan under the trade name VAFSEO™. MTPC filed a Japanese New Drug Application for vadadustat in July 2019. The approval was based on data from the vadadustat development program, including MTPC’s two Phase 3 active-controlled pivotal studies, which support the efficacy and safety of vadadustat in treating both adult patients on dialysis and those not on dialysis with anemia due to CKD in Japan.
If you would like to learn more about our clinical trials, including becoming a participating investigator or referring physician, please email email@example.com or visit www.clinicaltrials.gov, and input “vadadustat” into the “Other terms” search bar.
Other Research Programs
We aim to add to our pipeline and portfolio of treatment for renal diseases through internal discovery and development, and through strategic transactions, such as in-licenses, collaborations and acquisitions. These efforts are guided by our purpose to better the life of each person impacted by kidney disease.
Vadadustat is an investigational drug that has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or any regulatory authority for use outside of Japan.
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13. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Efficacy and Safety Study to Evaluate Vadadustat for the Correction of Anemia in Subjects With Non-dialysis-dependent Chronic Kidney Disease (NDD-CKD) (PRO2TECT). Available at: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02648347. Accessed: September 20, 2019.
14. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Efficacy and Safety Study to Evaluate Vadadustat for the Maintenance Treatment of Anemia in Subjects With Non-dialysis-dependent Chronic Kidney Disease (NDD-CKD) (PRO2TECT). Available at: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02680574. Accessed: September 20, 2019.
15. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Efficacy and Safety Study to Evaluate Vadadustat for the Correction of Anemia in Subjects With Non-dialysis-dependent Chronic Kidney Disease (NDD-CKD) (PRO2TECT). Available at: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02648347. Accessed: September 20, 2019.
16. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Efficacy and Safety Study to Evaluate Vadadustat for the Correction or Maintenance Treatment of Anemia in Subjects With Incident Dialysis-dependent Chronic Kidney Disease (DD-CKD) (INNO2VATE). Available at: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02865850. Accessed: September 20, 2019.
17. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Efficacy and Safety Study to Evaluate Vadadustat for the Maintenance Treatment of Anemia in Subjects With Dialysis-dependent Chronic Kidney Disease (DD-CKD) (INNO2VATE). Available at: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02892149. Accessed: September 20, 2019.