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Cara Therapeutics' Korsuva reduces itching intensity in dialysis patients

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Cara Therapeutics' Korsuva reduces itching intensity in dialysis patients

Cara Therapeutics Inc.'s Korsuva injection achieved the main goal of a late-stage study by reducing itching intensity in hemodialysis patients with kidney disease.

The Stamford, Conn.-based company's stock was up 14.52% to $20.59 on Nasdaq as of 12:50 p.m. ET.

Cara evaluated Korsuva, or CR845/difelikefalin, against placebo in a phase 3 trial, dubbed Kalm-1, in hemodialysis patients with moderate-to-severe chronic kidney disease-associated pruritus.

The intractable systemic itch condition occurs with high frequency and intensity in patients undergoing hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis — processes of purifying blood in a person whose kidneys are not working normally.

Multiple studies estimate that at least 40% of patients with end-stage kidney disease have this itch condition, Cara said in a May 29 press release.

After 12 weeks of treatment, patients treated with Korsuva saw a 51% reduction in itching intensity compared to the start of the study. In comparison, 28% of patients on placebo experienced an improvement in itching intensity.

In addition, a greater percentage of patients on the medicine experienced improvement in itch-related quality of life measures compared to those on placebo.

Korsuva was generally well-tolerated with a safety profile consistent with that seen in earlier trials of the drug.

Cara President and CEO Derek Chalmers said the company is expecting results from another Korsuva phase 3 trial, called Kalm-2, in the second half of 2019. Chalmers added that if the results are positive, the company would move toward filing a new drug application seeking the drug's approval.