AstraZeneca and MedImmune are linking with the University of Michigan and Eli Lilly in a project aiming to identify new therapeutic targets for the treatment of chronic kidney disease (CKD). 

The RPC2 consortium will combine extensive clinical and molecular data collected by the University’s Professor Matthias Kretzler and stored on a renal database with the R&D expertise of the pharma firms to advance research in the area.

The consortium will access the database to explore key pathways that drive disease progression and identify potential new targets for medicines, and members can investigate targets of interest independently.

CKD affects more than 200 million people worldwide, but currently there are no curative treatments to stop kidney deterioration in patients aside from kidney transplantation.

“We have to find ways to bring new therapies to our patients faster,” said Prof Kretzler. “The RPC2 gives us the opportunity to combine large-scale clinical and molecular data exploration with the development expertise of the pharmaceutical industry.”

Marcus Schindler, head of the Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases Innovative Medicines Unit at AZ, said joining the consortium “represents a great step forward in our aspiration to become a leader in the treatment of CKD”.

“We believe that knowledge generated in the consortium will lead to an expansion of our portfolio with targets that have a strong patient-based foundation.”

The Anglo-Swedish drugs giant is already in an alliance with the University in which targets from its cardiovascular and metabolic disease portfolio are validated for their potential in treating CKD.