EAGAN, Minn., Sept. 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Makana Therapeutics today received a $650,000 KidneyX Artificial Kidney Prize for their work to increase the supply of kidney donor organs through pig-to-human xenotransplants. Xenotransplantation is the process of transplanting organs or tissues between members of different species into humans, thus addressing the crisis of organ shortage we are facing today.

"We see a future where xenotransplantation will allow end-stage renal disease patients who need a kidney transplant to have one immediately, without the years of waiting and uncertainty they currently face," said Matt Tector, chief scientific officer of Makana Therapeutics.

Every year more than 100,000 new patients are deemed to need some form of renal replacement, yet fewer than 25,000 kidney transplants are performed annually due to a shortage of suitable donors.

To meet this increasing demand, Makana has developed a "triple knockout" pig with kidneys viable for human transplant by inactivating three separate genes to reduce expression of pig molecules on the transplanted kidney that are targeted by human antibodies. By eliminating these three genes from pigs, it is possible to reduce, and in some cases, eliminate human antibody binding to the pig cells which typically lead to organ rejection or other complications. Makana estimates the "triple knockout" pig will be a suitable kidney donor for as many as 70 percent of kidney failure patients.

Makana, a subsidiary of Minneapolis-based life-sciences company Recombinetics, is strategically placed to bring this innovation to market leveraging both Makana's strong intellectual property and pre-clinical success as well as Recombinetics leadership in large animal genetic engineering and animal husbandry expertise.

"We believe there are no remaining scientific unknowns for us to get to our clinical trial.  Our remaining efforts will be geared towards gaining FDA approval for the trial and continuing to improve our technology so we can meet our goal of providing a transplant to every patient in need," said Dr. Joe Tector, founder of Makana.

As a pre-clinical stage company, Makana expects its first-in-human trial to commence as early as 2022 and could be to market as soon as 2025.

About The Artificial Kidney Prize

The Kidney Innovation Accelerator (KidneyX), a public-private partnership between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the American Society of Nephrology (ASN), is accelerating innovation in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of kidney diseases.

The Artificial Kidney Prize is a competition to accelerate the development of continuous kidney replacement therapies that provide transformational treatment options beyond current dialysis methods. For this competition, artificial kidneys may be wearable, implantable, bioengineered, developed as a xenotransplant or chimera organ, or other approaches not yet conceived.

About Makana Therapeutics

Founded in 2009, Makana Therapeutics is focused on developing swine with reduced xenoantigen expression, making human transplantation of cells, tissues and organs from these animals possible. Makana's focus on simplified genetics, optimized pig cloning techniques and careful patient selection is expected to streamline product development and result in safer more efficacious products.

About Recombinetics

Founded in 2008, Recombinetics Inc. is a recognized global leader in the development, deployment, and commercialization of genetically engineered animals. Its three subsidiaries, Regenevida, Surrogen, and Acceligen, have delivered hundreds of animals to: enable drug, device, and therapeutic discovery; generate transplantable cells, tissues, and organs; and provide improved health, well-being, and productivity in agricultural animals.

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SOURCE Recombinetics Inc

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