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The Unmet Need For Innovative And Effective Treatments For Kidney Disease: Acute Kidney Injury

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By Julian Richard, Benzinga

Unicycive Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: UNCY) is a biopharmaceutical company spearheading efforts to develop effective, safe, and novel treatments for kidney disease to improve patient and caregiver quality of life due to kidney failure. Its candidate UNI-494 is currently in development for treating acute kidney injury (AKI).

Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a serious, life-threatening condition caused by an acute loss of kidney function. There are several causes of AKI, including heart failure and liver disease, blockage to the kidney and reduced blood flow, and drugs or toxic substances. Recent research has highlighted the role that mitochondrial dysfunction plays in AKI pathogenesis. Mitochondria are organelles (specialized structures within cells that perform specific functions) that produce energy for cell functions and regulate many other biological processes, such as cell death. When mitochondria become dysfunctional due to illness or trauma, it can lead to various diseases, including AKI.

Treatment for AKI currently focuses on supportive care measures such as administering fluids and electrolytes to stabilize the patient’s blood pressure and dialysis treatment to remove waste from the body. While these treatments are effective in treating the symptoms of AKI, they fail to address the underlying cause of this medical condition and thus do not affect the progression of the disease. Symptoms of AKI include decreased frequency of urination and swelling in the legs and may lead to chronic kidney disease if not treated. Unfortunately, treatment options for mitochondrial dysfunction are limited. While several promising treatments can restore mitochondrial function, such as using antioxidants and other compounds to reduce oxidative stress, these treatments have yet to be successfully implemented on a large scale. This unmet medical need has left many patients with few treatment options.

UNI-494 is a promising compound seeking to address this unmet clinical need. It is a patented pro-drug (a biologically inactive compound that can be metabolized in the body to produce an active drug) of nicorandil, which has been shown in preclinical models to improve mitochondrial function. Data for UNI-494 from three pre-clinical studies will be presented at the National Kidney Foundation’s (NFK) upcoming Spring Clinical Meetings in April 2023.

“We are delighted to be presenting this bolus of data in support of UNI-494 as a potential treatment advance for acute kidney injury” said Shalabh Gupta, M.D., Chief Executive Officer of Unicycive Therapeutics.

Visit for more information on the company and its product candidates.

This article was originally published on Benzinga here.

Unicycive Therapeutics is a biotechnology company developing novel treatments for kidney diseases. Unicycive’s lead drug, Renazorb, is a novel phosphate binding agent being developed for the treatment of hyperphosphatemia. UNI-494 is a patent-protected new chemical entity in late preclinical development for the treatment of acute kidney injury.

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