By Kevin Longino, Kidney Transplant Recipient and CEO of the National Kidney Foundation
Earlier this month, I had the honor of joining several distinguished panelists to educate policymakers and request that Congress fund KidneyX at $25 million for FY 2021. The panel, which included Emily Levy from Synergy Partners; Jeff Ross, CEO of Miromatrix; Ed Simcox, Chief Technology Officer for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); and John Sedor, KidneyX’s Chair highlighted KidneyX’s initial prize competitions, its central role in the Administration’s strategy to advance care for the more than 37 million kidney patients (including the development of the world’s first artificial kidney!), and why Congressional support is critical for KidneyX to achieve its mission.
KidneyX is a public-private partnership between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) that incentivizes innovators to fill unmet patient needs through a series of prize competitions. NKF is a proud partner in this effort and I am honored to serve on the KidneyX Steering Committee.
Each of the panelists spoke about how KidneyX is already starting to drive innovation in the marketplace. HHS Chief Technology Officer Ed Simcox shared his experience at the 2020 Startup Health Festival in San Francisco, where startup companies showcase new technology and applications to the investor community. “People are now coming up to me with new adjacent technologies seeking ways to promote these new technologies to benefit the kidney community.” Other panelists highlighted, however, that significant additional resources are needed if this initiative is to deliver on its mission and called on Congress to increase funding for this important initiative.
Experts estimate that KidneyX will need a total investment of $250 million over five years to develop an artificial kidney and accelerate technology development in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of kidney diseases. In FY 2020, Congress began its commitment to KidneyX with a $5 million appropriation. NKF calls on Congress to significantly increase our federal government’s response to kidney disease by increasing funding for KidneyX, kidney health public awareness efforts, biomedical research, and other programs that support people with kidney disease and their families.