Akebia Therapeutics' CEO on Mechanisms of HIF-PHI Candidate

Vadadustat is an investigational drug belonging to a class known as hypoxia-inducible prolyl hydroxylase inhibitors (HIF-PHIs) for the treatment of anemia in chronic kidney disease.

John Butler, CEO of Akebia Therapeutics, discusses the company's investigational drug candidate vadadustat, which belongs to a new class of drugs called hypoxia-inducible factor prolyl hydroxylase inhibitors (HIF-PHI). The class works by restoring production of the hormone erythropoietin and improving iron regulation in patients with chronic kidney disease who are anemic.


Can you discuss vadadustat as an HIF-PH inhibitor and how this class of drugs works?

So vadadustat is a HIF-PHI, which is a hypoxia-inducible prolyl hydroxylase inhibitor and basically, its mechanism of action is the same as increasing altitude. When we go up in altitude, our body stabilizes hypoxia inducible factor, our body recognizes that the oxygen level is low, and it stabilizes HIF. And it does this by inhibiting the enzymes that normally inhibit HIF. So vadadustat basically works by inhibiting the inhibitor, inhibiting the pro hydroxylase which allows HIF to stabilize, which allows the body to make red blood cells. So it's a very physiologic process by which vadadustat works.