Novel approach to Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) research addresses both its complications and underlying causes

Investing in groundbreaking science to develop new therapies that will aggressively prevent, treat, manage and modify CKD

Progressing the science of chronic kidney disease by understanding its interplay with cardiovascular disease and diabetes

The incidence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) today, estimated to affect a staggering 200 million people globally, is expected to rise as the prevalence of its risk factors such as hypertension and diabetes increases worldwide. 1,2,3,4  The relationships between CKD, cardiovascular disease (CV) and diabetes are well-known. What’s been left unexplored for too long is understanding the relationships between these conditions, not simply acknowledging and treating them. Meanwhile, the unmet needs of CKD are growing and have become more urgent than ever.

AstraZeneca has been driving cardiovascular (CV) innovation for more than 100 years. The strength of our pipeline and portfolio in our Cardiovascular & Metabolic Disease (CVMD) therapy area is well-positioned to integrate CKD into a clinical and patient-centric framework that we believe will give us a better understanding of the interplay of these conditions.

Our ambition is to transform the standard of care for CKD from mere day-to-day management to one that can identify and address root causes to aggressively prevent, treat, manage, modify and even halt progression of the disease itself. Two ways in which we’re working toward this goal include leading with the science and creating unique partnerships.


Leading with the science

Within this new integrated framework, and encouraged by emerging renal disease progression data for the SGLT2 inhibitor class, we recently announced the initiation of a Phase IIIb outcomes trial designed to evaluate the potential cardiovascular and renal protective role of an SGLT2 inhibitor in CKD patients with and without type-2 diabetes. This trial, alongside a number of planned mechanistic studies, will help us learn more about the disease itself and provide insights for moving beyond day-to-day management of comorbid CKD and diabetes.

Through our investigational work in hyperkalaemia and anaemia, two complications associated with CKD, we are also investing in groundbreaking science that could potentially address significant unmet needs in the treatment of these complications.5,6 By tackling both the complications and underlying causes of CKD, we hope to also reduce CV morbidity and mortality in CKD patients.


Creating unique partnerships

Strategic partnerships with external experts are also key to our efforts of advancing CKD research. We’re collaborating with the University of Michigan, the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, and Centre of Excellence for the Prevention of Organ Failure, among others, to focus on discovering new targets linked to disease progression, initiating new approaches in personalised healthcare in CKD and enhancing our understanding of its pathology and the challenges it presents.

By reimagining, expanding and deepening our investigational research in CKD, we have the potential to reduce the devastating toll it exacts on patients, caregivers, and economies around the world. As our innovative science and partnerships lead the way, we are working not only to change how we think about CKD, but how we address it and, ultimately, solve the unmet needs it causes.

Learn more about our CVMD therapy area and how CKD is an important and integrated strategic priority for AstraZeneca here.


  1. Ojo A. Addressing the Global Burden of Chronic Kidney Disease Through Clinical and Translational Research. Transactions of the American Clinical and Climatological Association. 2014; 125:229-246.
  2. Hoerger TJ, Simpson SA, Yamoff BO, et al. The Future Burden of CKD in the United States: A Simulation Model for the CDC CKD Initiative. Am J Kidney Dis. 2015; 65: 403-411.
  3. International Diabetes Federation. IDF Diabetes Atlas, 7th ed. Brussels, Belgium: International Diabetes Federation, 2015.
  4. World Health Organization. “Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) Key Facts.” 2015. Accessed 7 September 2016.
  5. Obrador, Gregario, et. al. “Anaemia of chronic kidney disease: an under-recognized and under-treated problem.” Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation (2002): 44-46.
  6. National Kidney Foundation. "Clinical Update on Hyperkalaemaia." 2014.