The public-private partnership will include prize competitions and other efforts to 'accelerate the commercialization' of therapies.
Health and Human Services announced an initiative Thursday, in partnership with the American Society of Nephrology, with the goal of helping the more than 40 million Americans living with kidney disease.
The project, dubbed the Kidney Innovation Accelerator, or KidneyX, will encourage public-private coordination and a series of prize competitions "to enable and accelerate the commercialization" of therapies, HHS said in its announcement.
HHS Chief Technology Officer Bruce D. Greenstein signed a memorandum of understanding Thursday with ASN President Mark D. Okusa, MD, FASN.
"Over the last decade, patients with cancer and heart disease have benefitted from innovative improvements in therapies, drugs, devices and digital health tools. Patients suffering from kidney disease deserve the same opportunity," said Greenstein in a statement.
"With KidneyX, HHS sends an important message to innovators and investors regarding the desire and demand to help patients suffering from chronic kidney disease," Greenstein added.
Okusa said KidneyX will encourage venture capitalists—who have been reluctant to invest in innovative therapies for kidney diseases in the past—to give kidney-related investment opportunities another chance.
The plan is to focus on three main areas:
- Conducting competitions to identify the most promising innovators, funding their work with prize money;
- Improving coordination across several relevant federal agencies "to help clarify the path toward commercialization"; and
- Fostering a sense of urgency to develop new therapies.
Applications for the first round of KidneyX prize funding will be accepted in the late summer of this year, HHS said.
Steven Porter is editor at HealthLeaders.