BACKGROUND Vadadustat is an oral hypoxia-inducible factor prolyl hydroxylase inhibitor, a class of compounds that stimulate endogenous erythropoietin production. METHODS We conducted two randomized, open-label, noninferiority phase 3 trials to evaluate the safety and efficacy of vadadustat, as compared with darbepoetin alfa, in patients with anemia and incident or prevalent dialysis-dependent chronic kidney disease (DD-CKD). The primary safety end point, assessed in a time-to-event analysis, was the first occurrence of a major adverse cardiovascular event (MACE, a composite of death from any cause, a nonfatal myocardial infarction, or a nonfatal stroke), pooled across the trials (noninferiority margin, 1.25). A key secondary safety end point was the first occurrence of a MACE plus hospitalization for either heart failure or a thromboembolic event. The primary and key secondary efficacy end points were the mean change in hemoglobin from baseline to weeks 24 to 36 and from baseline to weeks 40 to 52, respectively, in each trial (noninferiority margin,-0.75 g per deciliter). RESULTS A total of 3923 patients were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to receive vadadustat or darbepoetin alfa: 369 in the incident DD-CKD trial and 3554 in the prevalent DD-CKD trial. In the pooled analysis, a first MACE occurred in 355 patients (18.2%) in the vadadustat group and in 377 patients (19.3%) in the darbepoetin alfa group (hazard ratio, 0.96 ; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.83 to 1.11). The mean differences between the groups in the change in hemoglobin concentration were-0.31 g per deciliter (95% CI,-0.53 to-0.10) at weeks 24 to 36 and-0.07 g per deciliter (95% CI,-0.34 to 0.19) at weeks 40 to 52 in the incident DD-CKD trial and-0.17 g per deciliter (95% CI,-0.23 to-0.10) and-0.18 g per deciliter (95% CI,-0.25 to-0.12), respectively, in the prevalent DD-CKD trial. The incidence of serious adverse events in the vadadustat group was 49.7% in the incident DD-CKD trial and 55.0% in the prevalent DD-CKD trial, and the incidences in the darbepoetin alfa group were 56.5% and 58.3%, respectively. CONCLUSIONS Among patients with anemia and CKD who were undergoing dialysis, vadadustat was noninferior to darbepoetin alfa with respect to cardiovascular safety and correction and maintenance of hemoglobin concentrations. (Funded by Akebia Therapeutics and Otsuka Pharmaceutical ; INNO2VATE ClinicalTrials.gov numbers, NCT02865850 and NCT02892149.).
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