AstraZeneca, RenalytixAI Announce Collaboration in Cardiovascular, Renal, and Metabolic Disease

August 23, 2020

A proprietary algorithm can help payers identify patients at high risk of progressive chronic kidney disease.

The diagnostics company RenalytixAI and drug maker AstraZeneca have announced a collaboration to use artificial intelligence (AI) for precision medicine strategies in cardiovascular, renal, and metabolic diseases. The companies offered a joint statement on the partnership Friday.

The partnership will begin with KidneyIntelX, described in the joint announcement as “an AI-enabled in vitro diagnostic platform.” The platform uses a proprietary AI algorithm to evaluate patient data, collected from electronic health records or genetic testing, to develop a risk score that lets physicians know if the patient is at risk of declining kidney function. From this risk score, payers and health systems can make coverage decisions for patients with diabetic kidney disease.

In this new venture, AstraZeneca and RenalytixAI will work with Mount Sinai Health System to use the KidneyIntelx testing platform and software in a randomized controlled trial, which will evaluate “uptake and adherence” among patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and hyperkalemia who are taking new potassium-binding agents. According to the companies’ joint statement, the KidneyIntelX platform is already in use at Mount Sinai.

An estimated 37 million Americans have CKD, which can lead to renal failure and the need for dialysis. Rising rates of obesity and an aging population are both contributing to an increase in CKD, which accounts for $1 in every $5 spent by Medicare. Unfortunately, patients with early stage kidney disease often have no symptoms, which can allow renal decline to go unchecked. Other complications of CKD include anemia or hyperkalemia.

Results from the collaboration are expected in early 2021, the statement said.

“We believe this collaboration will define how we can leverage KidneyIntelX to improve the care and outcomes for patients affected by chronic diseases, such as kidney disease, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease,” said Barbara Murphy, MD, who is chair of the Samuel Bronfman Department of Medicine, dean for Clinical Integration and Population Health Management at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and a board member of RenalytixAI. “By using a more personalized approach, our initial goal is to help realize improved outcomes for more than 240,000 patients with chronic kidney disease within the Mount Sinai Health System.”

Goals of the partnership between RenalytixAI and AstraZeneca include:

  • Improving physician uptake and patient adherence to approved therapies in CKD by finding high-risk patient groups.
  • Rapidly identifying patients for clinical trials
  • Enhancing commercialization efforts, using results from the AI platform

“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,” said Tarek Rabah, vice president, AstraZeneca US Renal-Cardio. “We are committed to revolutionizing kidney care by continuing to drive innovation. An important component of our work is identifying patients with significant unmet need and providing them with more personalized interventions.”

Results from DAPA-CKD, which studied the use of the sodium glucose co-transporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitor dapagliflozin in CKD, are scheduled to be presented next weekend during the European Society of Cardiology Virtual Congress. AstraZeneca markets the SGLT2 inhibitor as Farxiga. Last month, the drug maker announced that DAPA-CKD had met all primary and secondary end points for patients with CKD, whether or not they had diabetes.