Artificial intelligence-enabled in vitro diagnostics company Renalytix AI announced today a research partnership with AstraZeneca to develop and launch medical strategies for cardiovascular, renal and metabolic diseases.
The first stage of the collaboration will use KidneyIntelX, an AI-enabled in vitro diagnostic platform that gathers patient data from electronic medical records to generate a risk score for patients with chronic kidney disease. The risk score can be used by physicians as a way to predict the progression of chronic kidney disease and to guide treatments to help prevent kidney-function decline.
Researchers will assess the impact that KidneyIntelX has on the utilization of therapeutics under the current standard of care protocols.
From there, the companies plan to launch a multicenter randomized control trial to evaluate uptake and adherence to new potassium-binding agents in patients with chronic kidney disease and hyperkalemia.
The studies have the goal of improving the physician uptake of, and patient adherence to, chronic kidney disease treatments through early identification, accelerate patient identification and recruitment for clinical trials, and commercialize the use of KidneyIntelX, according to the companies.
Both studies will be conducted within the Mount Sinai Health System, where KidneyIntelX is already being used, and the companies expect results in early 2021.
WHY THIS MATTERS
Chronic kidney disease causes the kidneys to weaken over time, making it harder for them to clean the blood, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. It can lead to other health problems like heart disease and high blood pressure.
The CDC estimates that 15% of U.S. adults, 37 million people, have chronic kidney disease, however, 90% don’t know they have it, because symptoms oftentimes don’t show up until the disease is advanced.
Early detection of chronic kidney disease is an important step in preventing the progression of the disease to kidney failure, according to the National Kidney Foundation. People can get tested for kidney disease through blood and urine tests, which look for creatinine in the blood and protein in the urine, according to the CDC.
THE LARGER TREND
Renalytix AI launched KidneyIntelX after it landed $29 million in funding in 2018.
Scanwell Health moved beyond urinary tract infection testing last year when it joined the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC) Study, an ongoing, multicenter investigation of chronic kidney disease and other comorbid chronic conditions that is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. The company provided participants with a white-label version of the app and, for the first time, its kidney disease test kits.
Last year, Israeli smartphone urinalysis startup Healthy.io closed a $60 million Series C funding round and launched its FDA 510(k) cleared albumin-to-creatinine (ACR) test kit, a type of screen used to detect kidney impairment.
Pharma giant Otsuka has also made kidney disease a priority with its platform NephU. Users will be able to tap into an online library of resources that include video, audio, webinars and podcasts. It is a place for clinicians to collaborate and share information about nephrology conditions, among themselves and with patients.
ON THE RECORD
“This collaborative approach reflects the shared vision of AstraZeneca and RenalytixAI to develop meaningful solutions to tackle significant challenges in healthcare in a holistic way,” Tarek Rabah, vice president of AstraZeneca U.S. for renal-cardio, said in a statement. “We are committed to revolutionizing kidney care by continuing to drive innovation. An important component of our work is identifying patients with significant unmet needs and providing them with more personalized interventions.”