Press Release

Chinook Therapeutics Obtains Worldwide Rights from AbbVie to Atrasentan with Plans to Develop for the Treatment of Kidney Diseases

VANCOUVER, BC – January 10, 2020 – Chinook Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on developing precision medicines for kidney diseases, today announced it has entered into a license agreement with AbbVie, a research-based global biopharmaceutical company, for worldwide, exclusive rights to atrasentan, an endothelin receptor antagonist. Chinook will assume all development and commercialization responsibilities for atrasentan globally. Chinook plans to initiate a clinical trial of atrasentan in the second half of 2020 for biomarker-selected patients with a rare primary glomerular kidney disease at high risk for progressive kidney function loss.

“This in-license of atrasentan provides a unique opportunity for Chinook to add a potential new drug to its precision medicine portfolio for the treatment of rare, severe chronic kidney diseases,” said Eric Dobmeier, President and Chief Executive Officer of Chinook. “We have plans to advance the program into a clinical trial for primary glomerular disease patients who have few other treatment options, in addition to exploring other addressable patient populations.”

Atrasentan is a potent and selective blocker of the ETA receptor, which is activated in human primary glomerular diseases and can cause proteinuria, kidney inflammation and scarring that contributes to progressive kidney function loss. Elevated kidney ET-1 expression prospectively predicts rapid progression in primary glomerular disease.

Under the terms of the license agreement, Chinook obtains worldwide rights to all fields of use for atrasentan and assumes full responsibility for advancing the program going forward. AbbVie will receive an undisclosed upfront cash payment, potential future milestones and royalties, and an equity stake in Chinook.

About Primary Glomerular Diseases

Primary glomerular diseases cause inflammation and/or scarring of the functional units of the kidney responsible for filtering the blood (the glomeruli) and are an important cause globally of progression to end-stage renal disease (ESRD) requiring dialysis or kidney transplantation. These diseases, which include focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), Alport’s syndrome, IgA nephropathy and membranous nephropathy, are characterized by excess protein in the urine (proteinuria), high levels of which are considered a strong predictor of subsequent kidney function decline. Recently, elevated kidney ET-1 expression was shown to prospectively predict rapid progression in IgA nephropathy patients. This suggests that ET system activation may be a key determinant of the clinical course and that blockade of the ETA receptor represents a precision medicine approach to treat primary glomerular disease patients at high risk of renal progression. There are currently limited treatment options for primary glomerular diseases. Medical management is largely non-specific, aimed at reducing blood pressure, along with the potential use of immunosuppressive agents that typically provide insufficient therapeutic benefit and are often accompanied by negative side effects.

About Chinook Therapeutics

Chinook Therapeutics, Inc. is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing precision medicines for kidney diseases. The company’s pipeline is focused on rare, severe kidney disorders with defined and rapid clinical pathways. Chinook’s lead program is atrasentan, an endothelin receptor antagonist planned for development for primary glomerular diseases. The company is also advancing research programs for an undisclosed ultra orphan kidney disease and polycystic kidney disease. Chinook is building its pipeline by leveraging novel insights in kidney single cell RNA sequencing, human-derived organoids and new translational models, to discover and develop therapeutics with novel mechanisms of action against key kidney disease pathways. Chinook is backed by leading global healthcare investors, Versant Ventures, Apple Tree Partners, and Samsara BioCapital, and is based in Vancouver, BC and Seattle, WA. For more information visit


Tom Frohlich
Chief Business Officer
Chinook Therapeutics, Inc.
(604) 343-1552 

Ian Stone
Canale Communications
(619) 849-5388