Akebia Therapeutics has reported positive study results for AKB-6548, a hypoxia-inducible factor-prolyl hydroxylase inhibitor for the treatment of anaemia in patients with stage 3 and 4 chronic kidney disease.

AKB-6548 causes a gentle rise in haemoglobin levels by increasing natural production of erythropoietin (EPO), a glycoprotein hormone that controls the production of red blood cells.

The Phase 2a study showed that the patients given AKB-6548 experienced significantly increased levels of EPO at eight and 12 hours after administration, and that EPO levels returned to baseline within 24 hours, which supports its once-daily dosage.

The drug was also found to be safe, with no serious adverse events reported.

The study enrolled 22 patients and was designed to assess the safety, pharmacokinetics and tolerability of AKB-6548.

Each patient received an oral, single dose of AKB-6548, and their EPO levels were checked at eight, 12 and 24 hours after administration of the drug.