REDWOOD CITY, Calif., April 16, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Relypsa, Inc., a Vifor Pharma Group company, today announced that it has awarded three research grants to supplement institutional funding for nephrology and/or cardiology fellows pursuing a career in the area of hyperkalemia and associated disorders. Relypsa will fund the grant awards of up to $50,000 each for one academic year. Institutions receiving the research grants include the University of Cincinnati, Emory University and the University of Chicago.

“Our research grants aim to improve patient care, encourage disease awareness and educate healthcare organizations and professionals,” said Alain Romero, Ph.D., Pharm.D., vice president of medical and scientific affairs of Relypsa. “We are excited for the recipients of the Relypsa Nephrology and Cardiology Research Grant Program and look forward to seeing the results of their research.”

Relypsa’s grants will fund research in areas vital to improving the care of patients with kidney and heart diseases, including: 1) Defining with greater accuracy the frequency of hyperkalemia in solid organ transplant recipients and correlating their hyperkalemia episodes to clinical episodes; 2) Exploring the influence of potassium and urea levels on fibrosis in animal models of renal dysfunction; and 3) Following patients prospectively at a single site who require treatment with either a renin angiotensin system blocker and/or a mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist to improve blood pressure and/or cardiac function.

About Hyperkalemia
Approximately 3 million people in the United States with stage 3 or 4 chronic kidney disease (CKD) and/or heart failure have hyperkalemia, or 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 can cause hyperkalemia as a side effect. These include renin angiotensin aldosterone system (RAAS) inhibitors such as angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), aldosterone antagonists (AAs) and angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitors.

About Relypsa, Inc.
Relypsa, Inc., a Vifor Pharma Group company, is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of polymeric medicines for patients with conditions that are often overlooked and undertreated and can be addressed in the gastrointestinal tract. The Company's first medicine, Veltassa® (patiromer) for oral suspension, was developed based on Relypsa's rich legacy in polymer science. More information is available at www.relypsa.com.

About Vifor Pharma Group
Vifor Pharma Group, formerly Galenica Group, is a global pharmaceuticals company. It aims to become the global leader in iron deficiency, nephrology and cardio-renal therapies. The company is the partner of choice for pharmaceuticals and innovative patient-focused solutions. Vifor Pharma Group strives to help patients around the world with severe and chronic diseases lead better, healthier lives. The company develops, manufactures and markets pharmaceutical products for precision patient care. Vifor Pharma Group holds a leading position in all its core business activities and consists of the following companies: Vifor Pharma; Vifor Fresenius Medical Care Renal Pharma, a joint company with Fresenius Medical Care; Relypsa; and OM Pharma. Vifor Pharma Group is headquartered in Switzerland, and listed on the Swiss Stock Exchange (SIX Swiss Exchange, VIFN, ISIN: CH0364749348). For more information, please visit www.viforpharma.com.

Contact:
Albert Liao
Director of U.S. Communications
Relypsa
+1 650 421 9532
media@relypsa.com