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Two Boston-area biotech firms that specialize in drugs for chronic kidney disease — Cambridge-based Akebia Therapeutics and Boston-based Keryx Biopharmaceuticals — will merge and form a company worth $1.3 billion.

On Thursday morning, the two companies announced that both boards have approved the plan. The combined company will be named Akebia Therapeutics (Nasdaq: AKBA) and will be led by that company’s CEO, John Butler.

The two companies would have more than 300 combined employees, barring…