Vifor Fresenius Medical Care Renal Pharma (VFMCRP) and Fresenius Kabi announced an agreement to develop, register and distribute Veltassa for the treatment of hyperkalemia in the People’s Republic of China. Under the agreement, Fresenius Kabi will have the exclusive right to distribute and sell Veltassa across China.
Fresenius Kabi is a global healthcare company that specializes in medicines and technologies for infusion, transfusion and clinical nutrition. In China, the company is among the top 10 multinational pharmaceutical companies, being a market leader in clinical nutrition, anesthesia and nephrology.
Vifor Pharma Group is a global pharmaceuticals company. It aims to become the global leader in iron deficiency, nephrology and cardio-renal therapies.
Veltassa is a potassium binder approved for the treatment of hyperkalemia. Veltassa was specially designed to exchange calcium rather than sodium for potassium ions, ensuring suitability for patients who cannot tolerate even small increases in sodium. Veltassa should not replace emergency treatment for life-threatening hyperkalemia. Made in powder form, Veltassa is mixed with water and taken once a day with or without food. Veltassa is consisting of smooth, spherical, uniform microbeads too large to be absorbed, thus protecting the gastrointestinal tract. Veltassa works primarily in the lumen of the colon where potassium concentration is highest, and the residence time of the polymer is the longest. The potassium is then excreted from the body through the normal excretion process.
Why this deal?
- Stefan Schulze, CEO of Vifor Pharma Group comments, “We are delighted to expand VFMCRP’s collaboration with Fresenius Kabi. There is a high prevalence of CKD and heart failure in China and hyperkalemia is one of the most common complications associated with these two conditions. As a result there is a high demand for an effective, proven hyperkalemia treatment. The excellent commercial infrastructure, the well established relationships in nephrology and our existing successful collaboration make Fresenius Kabi our partner of choice to provide Veltassa to patients.”
- Oskar Haszonits, President Region Asia Pacific of Fresenius Kabi said, “This agreement is an important step in intensifying our collaboration and relationship with VFMCRP in nephrology. We believe Veltassa has the potential to provide many benefits to patients across the country, and we look forward to adding it to our portfolio and working with VFMCRP.”
Insight on Therapy
- Hyperkalemia is a serious medical condition characterized by elevated levels of potassium in the blood and can be associated with life-threatening consequences.
- Patients with CKD and heart failure, especially those treated with RAAS (renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system) inhibitors are at particular risk of developing hyperkalemia. As a consequence, RAASi therapy, the cornerstone of treatment for CKD and heart failure, is often reduced or discontinued, compromising cardio-renal protection.
- By bringing Veltassa to China, VFMCRP and Fresenius Kabi will deliver a treatment that will enable patients to remain on RAASi therapy by managing their chronic hyperkalemia.
- Approximately 73% of advanced Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and 40% of chronic heart failure patients may be at risk of elevated blood potassium levels. Hyperkalemia can cause abnormal heart rhythms and even sudden death. There are often no warning signs, meaning a person can unknowingly experience spikes in potassium levels recurrently and be at risk for these cardiac events.
- Some medicines that are often prescribed to people with CKD and heart failure to help delay progression of their underlying disease and reduce mortality can cause hyperkalemia as a side effect. These may include RAASi such as angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), aldosterone antagonists (AAs) and angiotensin converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitors as well as angiotensin II receptor/neprilysin inhibitors (ARNI).