Akebia Therapeutics, a biotech company focused on developing and commercializing small molecules to treat anemia and cancer, announced that it has completed a $41 million Series C financing. The proceeds of this financing will be used to fund the ongoing development of AKB-6548, the company's experimental treatment for anemia in chronic kidney disease and dialysis patients. Akebia said they will use these funds for the clinical studies and other activities necessary to make AKB-6548 ready to enter Phase 3 studies. Among these is a Phase 2b study in patients with anemia associated with chronic kidney disease.

Satter Investment Management, LLC led the round and was joined by Novo A/S as co-lead as well as existing investors Novartis Venture Funds, Kearny Venture Partners, Venture Investors LLC, Athenian Venture Partners, Triathlon Medical Ventures, AgeChem Venture and Sigvion Capital Fund. Seaview Securities LLC acted as financial advisor to Akebia for this financing.

"We firmly believe in Akebia's approach for the treatment of anemia, which could provide a safer and more convenient option for patients with anemia secondary to chronic kidney disease, but also has the potential to address the broader anemia market," said Muneer Satter of Satter Investment Management, LLC and co-chairman of Akebia's Board.

AKB-6548 is an orally available, hypoxia-inducible factor prolyl hydroxylase (HIF-PH) inhibitor that stabilizes HIF2a, and is currently in development by Akebia to treat anemias secondary to CKD and end stage renal disease (ESRD or dialysis).

By contrast, due to its different mechanism of action, AKB-6548 has demonstrated the potential to be a safer, more efficacious, less expensive, orally dosed alternative to the injectable ESAs that are currently used to treat a variety of anemias, according to Akebia. Instead of binding directly to and saturating the EPO receptor for prolonged periods of time, AKB-6548 acts by stimulating the body's natural response to anemia that is carried out by stabilization of HIF2a, according to Akebia. The drug response is similar to the physiological adjustment made by the body to an increase in altitude.

"We are pleased to have the support of both new and current investors, who recognize the potential of this new approach to anemia treatment, particularly given changes in the landscape of injectable ESAs," said Joseph Gardner, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Akebia. "This financing will enable us to complete the clinical studies and other activities required to make AKB-6548 ready for the pivotal studies."