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Akebia Therapeutics said Tuesday that its experimental anemia pill achieved the primary efficacy and heart-safety goals in two pivotal Phase 3 clinical trials involving patients with chronic kidney disease requiring dialysis.

The oral medicine, called vadadustat, represents a new, more convenient and potentially safer way to treat anemia — a common condition for patients with chronic kidney disease. Injectable anemia drugs from Amgen and Johnson & Johnson are the standard treatment today. Those products generate billions of dollars in sales annually but must be used carefully because they carry significant heart-safety risks.


“Vadadustat did exactly what we wanted it to do, and we are incredibly happy about that,” Akebia CEO John Butler told STAT in a phone call on Monday night. “These data are clear, consistent, and make a compelling case for the efficacy and safety of the drug.”

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