Investigational therapies for renal disease-induced anemia

Holger Schmid*, Wolfgang Jelkmann

*Corresponding author for this work
17 Citations (Scopus)


ABSTRACT: Introduction: The main pillars for the treatment of chronic kidney disease (CKD) associated anemia are peptidic erythropoiesis stimulating agents (ESAs) and iron preparations. Both approaches benefit from long-term efficacy and safety data but are surrounded by clinical and economic concerns, driving the search for novel anti-anemic drugs. Areas covered: By answering pivotal questions, the authors describe the recent developments of next generation ESAs, introduce cutting-edge iron formulations and focus on investigational approaches that interact with pathways involved in erythropoietin (Epo) synthesis and myeloid hematopoiesis. Finally, the challenges encountered with these drug candidates are discussed. Expert opinion: Current peptidic ESAs are effective and well-tolerated, but are costly, require parenteral application and iron supplementation. ESA resistance may develop calling for increased doses. Therefore, orally available hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) stabilizing compounds are attractive alternatives, which may be approved in the near future. Prominent compounds are molidustat, daprodustat and roxadustat. HIF stabilizers suppress hepcidin production and improve iron balance as the present ESAs, but also raise safety concerns in association with their pleiotropic actions. Other investigational erythropoietic biologics are growth-differentiation factor-11 (GDF11) ligand traps (sotatercept, luspatercept), which are also well advanced in development. Possibly, they will provide an add-on for established therapies. However, immunogenicity of these compounds still needs to be carefully investigated.

Original languageEnglish
JournalExpert Opinion on Investigational Drugs
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)901-916
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 02.08.2016

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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