Kibow Biotech celebrates 25th anniversary as drug trials commence

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

©Getty Images - Hiroshi Watanabe
©Getty Images - Hiroshi Watanabe

Related tags Probiotic Lactobacillus Probiotics kidney disease

Kibow Biotech is celebrating its 25th anniversary as the company pivots toward developing a drug based on its proprietary probiotic strains that benefit kidney disease suffers.

The company’s flagship product is branded as Renadyl, and is based on proprietary probiotic strains developed by Natarajan Ranganathan, PhD.

 The organisms feed preferentially on waste products such as urea, creatinine and uric acid that are not being eliminated by underperforming, diseased kidneys.  As these become more concentrated in the blood, some leak into the gut, where the strains in the Renadyl supplement feed upon them, lowering the concentration in the gut.  Diffusion then drives increasing amounts of the waste products into the gut, lowering blood concentrations.

“The concept is when the kidney fails the toxins increase in the blood, and your blood flows all over your body, but the largest amount of blood flow is in your bowel,”​ Raganathan said.

Harnessing bowel’s absorption capacity in reverse

The bowel’s surface area is equivalent to that of a tennis court, he said. Generally one speaks of substances being absorbed from the bowel into the bloodstream.  Raganathan’s innovation was to use that vast absorption capacity in reverse to help soak up these toxins. 

Raganathan’s first stab, which he started on more than two decades ago on an NIS grant, was to genetically modify probiotic organisms for this task but that approach ran into both technical and regulatory difficulties. 

“We turned around and screened various naturally occurring microbes and found some that can use these toxins,”​ Raganathan said. “These are naturally occurring microbes and we found out that some of these microbes had a greater capacity to utilize the uremic toxins if you grow them under proprietary conditions, or what we call uremic conditions.”

Raganathan subsequently coined the term ‘Enteric Dialysis.’  He has presented his findings on the concept at numerous American Society of Nephrology conferences and was a featured speaker at Probiota Asia in 2019.

"Since pioneering the concept of ‘Enteric Dialysis’ we have launched Renadyl as a dietary supplement to maintain kidney health. We are now studying US-APR2020 in clinical trials to prepare for a future BLA submission as potentially the first live biotherapeutic product (LBP) to improve outcomes in patients with CKD,”​ he said.

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