Today three international innovators join forces to develop and deliver to patients the world's first portable artificial kidney. Debiotech of Switzerland, AWAK of Singapore and Neokidney Development, an initiative of the Dutch Kidney Foundation, have signed a joint venture agreement to complete a functional model in 2015. Clinical trials are planned for 2017. The portable artificial kidney will enable the frequent and longer home haemodialysis that significantly improves and extends patients' lives.
With over 3 million people worldwide suffering from End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) and nowhere near enough organ donors, almost 2.5 million patients have no alternative but haemodialysis (an intrusive and imperfect treatment that requires patients to visit a dialysis center 3-4 times a week for 3-4 hour sessions that approximate just 10-15% of the toxin removal by a healthy kidney). The impact of such an innovative product on patients' health, autonomy, quality of life and life expectancy could be immense.
The joint venture will deliver a compact dialysis machine that patients can use themselves, directly at home. Scientific research has already established that frequent and longer dialysis (e.g. at night) limits the treatment's side effects, including dialysis hangover and cardiovascular stress, and increases both autonomy and life expectancy. Moreover, home (night-time) haemodialysis is considerably cheaper than in-center treatment. The portable artificial kidney developed by the partnership will finally bring these benefits within the reach of patients and society.
Gerard Boekhoff, Neokidney board member and former Vice-President of the European kidney patients federation CEAPIR: "This first truly portable haemodialysis machine represents a major step from therapy compliant patients to patient compliant therapies."
Together, the partners have all the technology, expertise and resources needed. The new system will be based on Debiotech's DialEaseTM, a highly miniaturized, easy-to-use and cost effective machine for peritoneal home dialysis that is close to be on the market. AWAK contributes its novel sorbent technology, which will enable the system to use much less dialysate (about 4 litres compared to the 40-60 litres required by existing alternatives) and eliminate the need for expensive purification systems. Neokidney Development provides access to the Dutch Kidney Foundation's medical expertise and network of internationally acclaimed nephrologists and patient organizations, and will mobilize funding from public and private sources, including health insurers and social impact investors.
The partners have committed themselves to completing a functional model in 2015. The product will be ready for clinical trials by 2017, with Debiotech being ultimately responsible for securing the best commercial agreement in the interest of patients worldwide.