Dr. Andrew Malone Goes to Washington in Support of KidneyX

Physicians from the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) recently joined patients and caregivers from the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP) for the 6th Annual Kidney Health Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill to discuss the need for more innovation in the realm of kidney disease.

Local nephrologists Andrew Malone, MB, BCh, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Washington University, and Krista Lentine, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine at St. Louis University, represented the ASN as part of the ASN Policy and Advocacy committee and the ASN Quality committee, respectively.

“We had the opportunity to meet with the staff of Senators Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill and Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II,” says Dr. Malone. “They were very receptive to this much needed investment and innovation in the kidney space.”

Nearly 50 physicians and kidney patients met with 60 legislators and their staff to urge congress to support the Kidney Innovation Accelerator. The program, known as KidneyX, is a new public-private partnership of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the ASN.

KidneyX is designed to spur innovation in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of kidney disease.

Using matched funding from public and private sources, KidneyX will hasten the development of drugs, devices, biologics and other therapies across the spectrum of kidney care. The ASN has put up the first part of the private source of funding.

KidneyX’s first round of seed funding will focus on accelerating the commercialization of next-generation dialysis products (e.g. wearable or implantable dialyzers, bioartificial kidneys) and is targeting late 2018 as the first opportunity to apply.

“There has been little interest from the private sector in investing in kidney research due to the perceived regulatory barriers to successful commercialization of new therapies,” says Malone. “KidneyX will help improve and streamline these processes to make the kidney research and innovation more attractive to the private sector.”

Efforts to kick start innovation in kidney disease began several years ago with plans for an incentivized prize competition to develop the best wearable/implantable kidney device. In 2014, ASN President Sharon M. Moe, MD, and XPRIZE Foundation Vice President Christopher Frangione testified at the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology’s hearing on Prizes to Spur Innovation and Technology. Collaboration of ASN and the XPRIZE Foundation on the potential competition ultimately transformed into KidneyX.

For more information on the KidneyX program, see the President’s Column: Kidney Innovation Accelerator by ASN’s current President, Dr. Mark Okusa.

More on the 6th Annual Kidney Health Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill can be found in the May 2018 issue of Kidney News.

Follow Dr. Malone on Twitter @Andrew FMalone.