CVS Health (CVS) - Get Report  shares were unchanged in the premarket after the company said it would start a clinical trial of an experimental home-dialysis system for patients with end-stage renal disease.

The trial will involve as many as 70 patients across as many as 10 sites in the U.S. 

End-stage renal disease requires patients who haven't had kidney transplants to use dialysis machines to clear their blood of waste and excess fluid.

The company estimates that more than 37 million Americans have kidney disease, with nearly 700,000 having end-stage renal disease. 

CVS, which owns health insurer Aetna and also is one of the largest U.S. pharmacy operators, says the disease costs Medicare $35 billion annually.

But despite the outlays, one in six dialysis patients die in the first year of treatment, and more than 120,000 new cases are diagnosed each year.

"We have been working to fundamentally disrupt the kidney-care market and rapidly innovate in an area that has stagnated for decades," Alan Lotvin, a physician who is executive vice president and chief transformation officer for CVS, said in a statement,

CVS is a key holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS charitable trust