Akebia Therapeutics Inc. and Keryx Biopharmaceuticals Inc. said Thursday they have agreed to merge in an all-stock deal that will create a company focused on chronic kidney disease. The companies said the new entity will have pro forma equity value of about $1.3 billion, assuming full conversion of outstanding Keryx convertible notes. The new company will be called Akebia Therapeutics Inc. Under the terms of the deal, Keryx shareholders will recieve 0.37433 common share of Akebia for each Keryx share owned. Akebia CEO John Butler will lead the combined company and Keryx will appoint the chairman of the board. The deal is expected to close by year-end. “Combining Akebia and Keryx is expected to create a sustainable, kidney disease-focused, therapeutic leader that is well positioned to be a partner of choice throughout the renal community and for companies with products for patients with kidney disease,” the companies said in a joint statement. Bot stocks were halted premarket for the news. Akebia has fallen 30.2% in the year through Wednesday, while Keryx has fallen 3.7%. The S&P 500 has gained 1%.