News & Press Releases
Kuleana Technology Receives the NKF Innovation Fund’s First Dialysis Investment
Supporting game-changing dialysis technology to transform therapy for kidney disease
April 11, 2022 – Kuleana Technology, Inc. (Kuleana), a Seattle Washington-based company, received the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) Innovation Fund’s first dialysis investment. Kuleana is developing a groundbreaking portable hemodialysis device that will not require connection to an external water source and will not require complex sorbents. This device will be more effective than current dialysis since it will allow patients to dialyze on the go – enabling whenever, wherever dialysis for millions of patients worldwide.
“The kidney health landscape is broken and lacks needed innovation,” said Kevin Longino, chief executive officer of NKF and a kidney transplant recipient. “About 37 million Americans have kidney disease and many crash into kidney failure and require dialysis before ever being diagnosed. We need a fundamental change in how we deal with chronic kidney diseases. NKF’s Innovation Fund will provide donors with a unique opportunity to see their dollars support companies pursuing the most promising therapies, treatments and prevention methods that offer the potential to transform kidney care.”
Capitalizing on the prize-winning innovations and the extensive patent portfolio of the University of Washington’s Center for Dialysis Innovation (CDI), Kuleana is revolutionizing treatment technologies aimed at improving patient outcomes and enabling patients with chronic kidney failure to live life to the fullest. “Using the most promising biomaterials and bioengineering technologies and leveraging the CDI’s multi-disciplinary research teams and patient advisory board, Kuleana is transforming dialysis. Our solutions will keep dialysis patients healthier and productive, and they will lower costs to make sustainable dialysis accessible worldwide,” according to Kuleana’s Chief Technology Officer and CFO, Buddy D. Ratner, PhD.
NKF indicates that “10% of the population worldwide is affected by chronic kidney disease, and millions die each year because they do not have access to affordable treatment.” In upper income countries, like the US, only 60% of people who need dialysis have access to it. In lower and lower-to-middle income countries dialysis is available to between 1% and 4% of people who need it.
“We’re enthusiastic about the support NKF is providing Kuleana. Like NKF, we recognize that the unmet needs in hemodialysis are imperative – for the patient and for the economy. Progress over the last 62 years has been incremental and unimpressive. Patients want and deserve radically transformed treatment options that are safer, more effective, and that significantly improve their quality of life. Kuleana is a Hawaiian word conveying care, responsibility, accountability and reciprocity. These are the values that underpin everything we do”, said Dr. Jonathan Himmelfarb, Kuleana’s President and CEO.
UW Spinoff Kuleana Technology to Bring Portable Dialysis to Kidney Disease Patients
Seattle, WA – The University of Washington Center for Dialysis Innovation spinoff Kuleana Technology (kuleanatechnology.com) is rethinking today’s hemodialysis technology, which has seen little fundamental advancement since it was developed at the University of Washington in the 1960s. Kuleana, incorporated in the State of Washington in 2020, is focused on commercializing the AKTIV: Ambulatory Kidney to Improve Vitality, a portable hemodialysis device that does not require connection to an external water source. By removing this requirement, the AKTIV will allow patients to dialyze on the go, enabling whenever, wherever dialysis for millions of patients around the world living with kidney disease.
Kuleana is an early stage medical device development spinoff from the University of Washington Center for Dialysis Innovation (CDI). With leadership experienced in nephrology, dialysis, biomaterials, and dialysis product development, Kuleana will drive the medical device development and commercialization process for CDI-developed technologies. The CDI was launched in 2017 by Professor Jonathan Himmelfarb, MD (nephrologist), and Professor Buddy Ratner, PhD (polymer chemistry & bioengineering), as a historic partnership between the Northwest Kidney Centers, a not-for-profit dialysis provider, and the UW School of Medicine. The CDI focuses on scientific and technological advances essential to enabling portable hemodialysis. UW/CDI patented technologies will allow development of truly portable dialysis by removing the need for an external water source, thus giving patients true flexibility to dialyze on their own schedule and not just the standard 4 hours 3 times/week dialysis. These and other CDI technologies (patents issued, patents pending) will restore patient mobility while undergoing their life-saving treatments, and revolutionize dialysis technology to drastically improve the patient experience.
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Kuleana Technology Inc. is a Seattle-based startup focused on improving renal replacement therapies.