World Kidney Day 2023


World Kidney Day 2023: Emerging Biopharma on the Hunt for a Cure


What’s the Deal with CKD?

Your kidneys (or kidney) are bean-shaped organs that function as blood filtration units, by removing toxins and returning essential vitamins, nutrients, hormones & more, back into your bloodstream. They also play a crucial role in balancing body fluids and regulating the production of red blood cells. While most of us are born with two kidneys, one works just as well because of their remarkable regenerative capabilities.

Unfortunately, 1 in 10 people suffer from Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), for which there is currently no cure, and that number has been steadily rising for the last 2 decades. To spread awareness of CKD for World Kidney Day 2023, we’ve highlighted four organizations working with varying approaches toward the common goal of slowing or reversing the progression of kidney disease for affected individuals.


Emerging Biotechs Tackling Kidney Disease

OccuRx (Australia)

This Australian biotech startup is dedicated to developing first-in-class therapies for the treatment of fibrosis and inflammation. Following a successful Phase 1 trial, the emerging biotech received $16M in funding, led by Brandon BioCatalyst and Uniseed, which includes $1.5M from the Australian life sciences incubator CUREator.

The cash injection will be used to progress their lead compound OCX-063 through Phase 2 trials in patients with CKD. The orally administered therapy targets a pathway involved in signaling associated with inflammation and fibrosis in the kidneys and other organs.


SeaBeLife (France)

The French startup, led by Morgane Rousselot, the recent winner of the Entrepreneur prize “Trophées des femmes de l’industrie de l’Usine Nouvelle” is making waves in the field of regulated cell death. Necroptosis and ferroptosis are forms of regulated cell death that are a product of certain indications and the side effects of existing treatments, namely, chemotherapy.

Acute Renal Failure (ARF) is a common side effect of Cisplatin, a chemotherapy medicine used to treat several forms of cancer. By blocking cell death, SeaBeLife hopes to eliminate added complications caused by chemotherapeutic agents to increase the odds of successful treatment.

SeaBeLife has molecules for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and acute liver failure at the preclinical stage, while their treatments for ARF along with others for neurodegenerative diseases are in drug discovery. The organization continues to raise for their Series A to help the progression of their lead molecules through preclinical studies and into human trials.




Leflore Technologies, LLC (MS, US) 

*No Website

Led by Gene Bidwell from the University of Mississippi, Leflore Technologies is a startup working on a cure for renovascular disease (RVD). RVD is a product of the narrowing of arteries feeding to the kidneys and can lead to CKD.

Having recently received a Phase 2 STRR grant totaling $876,494, the organization looks to complete further efficacy and safety studies using several chronic kidney disease models. The lead agent, ELP-VEGF, is a novel biologic therapy targeting kidney microvasculature to recover density and function. Look for more progress as they move towards IND-enabling studies in 2023!

GeneTether Therapeutics, Inc (ON, CA)

GeneTether is an emerging biotech organization developing novel gene therapies to address the unmet needs of patients around the world, namely those affected by Chronic Kidney Disease.

With hundreds of known genetically driven monogenic disorders associated with kidney disease, the human genome was the starting point for GeneTether’s mission to deliver change. Using their proprietary gene therapy platform, they’re conducting preclinical research on pathways to treat autosomal dominant tubulointerstitial kidney disease (ADTKD) and autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD).

Yet to reach human trials, CEO Roland Boivin remained optimistic about the progression toward IND-enabling studies despite the cloudy economic climate that lies ahead. Thank you to the researchers and all those involved at GeneTether!


Show Kidneys Some Love

As we observe World Kidney Day, let us recognize the importance of kidney health and support the efforts of these companies in developing new therapies for kidney diseases. Follow Zymewire’s blog to learn about more emerging biotechs and their contributions to global health observance days.


Authored by: Alec de la Durantaye, Product Marketing Manager, Zymewire

March 09, 2023 | Health & Science Days