Advancement, progress, breakthrough, headway – these nouns pop up routinely on the ASN Kidney Week 2019 mobile app. Here’s one continuing story that comes with particularly grand plans – and so far everything is on a steady course toward success.
The story began in April 2018, when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Chief Technology Officer and the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) created KidneyX Innovation Accelerator (KidneyX). The public-private partnership between HHS and ASN was created to accelerate the development of drugs, devices, biologics, and other therapies across the spectrum of kidney care – with its core mission to improve the lives of the 850,000,000 people worldwide currently affected by kidney diseases.
To set its mission on fast forward, KidneyX plans to provide at least $250 million in funding to spur innovation in product development for kidney patients, supported through government appropriations and contributions from the private sector – led by ASN’s $25 million initial commitment. Between the non-dilutive funding and initiatives to fast track the commercialization of new technologies and therapies for kidney care, the hope is to make the kidney space an attractive market for additional private investment and innovation.
Speaking of innovation, during ASN Kidney Week 2019, on Saturday, November 9, KidneyX will take yet another bold step by awarding up to three winners $500,000 each to build and test prototype solutions, or components of solutions, that can replicate normal kidney functions or improve dialysis access.
This is Phase 2 of KidneyX’s competition – Redesign Dialysis – which was initiated in early 2019. Phase 1 challenged innovators across a range of fields to submit a short proposal on approaches that could enable the design of new artificial kidney devices, extending life, and improving quality of life. Of the 165 submissions received, topics ranged from innovations in vascular access and fluid filtration, to innovations in hemodialysis and biosensors.
More than 40 technical reviewers, including patients as well as multi-disciplinary experts from government, industry and academia, scored submissions. A panel of nine experts in medicine, biomedical science and engineering, and commercialization then judged top scoring submissions. Eventually, fifteen winners were awarded monetary prizes of $75,000 each.
“The response to Phase 1 of the prize competition is proof positive of the strong eagerness for innovation and investment in new kidney care technologies and therapies,” said Dr. John Sedor, Chair of the KidneyX Steering Committee. “The winning proposals address a broad range of potential improvements to dialysis and highlight the fact that there is more work to be done to change the status quo. Millions of patients are waiting.”
Phase 2 winners of Redesign Dialysis will be asked to develop and demonstrate functional and testable prototypes that can replicate some or all kidney functions.
Only just named in October 2019, the KidneyX Steering Committee Members include leading patients, researchers, clinicians, regulatory and health policy leaders, and investors:
“We have assembled a dream team of visionary healthcare, policy, technology, and therapeutic leaders to shape the future of this bold initiative,” said John R. Sedor, MD, FASN, Chair of the KidneyX Steering Committee. “I look forward to working with this remarkable group to realize the full potential of KidneyX to disrupt kidney care as we know it and create a pathway for innovation that addresses the unmet needs of kidney patients, their caregivers and their families.”
The KidneyX Steering Committee is tasked with recommending a five-year strategic plan for the initiative, as well as providing guidance for all KidneyX activities and outreach. This work includes recommendations for prioritizing the areas of greatest unmet scientific need and fundraising to support future KidneyX prize competitions.