Vadadustat is in development for the treatment of anaemia in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Anaemia is a condition where the body has fewer red blood cells (RBC) to carry oxygen throughout the body resulting in a decline in function of the body’s organs and tissues. Symptoms of anaemia in CKD patients include weakness, fatigue, headaches, dizziness and difficulty breathing. Anaemia is common in people with CKD because diseased kidneys produce less erythropoietin (EPO) which is needed to make RBCs. Current treatment for anaemia in CKD involves erythropoietin stimulating agents (ESAs) however, they may result in adverse side-effects so there is a need for safer treatment options.
Vadadustat, (given orally), works by stimulating the pathways that result in more RBC being produced under low oxygen conditions. Under low oxygen conditions, key regulatory proteins known as hypoxia inducible factors (HIFs) activate genes involved in RBC production to increase the number or RBC available in the blood. If licenced, vadadustat will offer an additional treatment option for anaemia in patients with CKD.