What happened

Shares of clinical-stage biopharma Cara Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CARA) rose over 11% today after the company announced positive results from part A of a phase 2/3 trial for chronic kidney disease-associated pruritus. The intravenously administered drug candidate, CR845, met both its primary and secondary endpoints for the severe itching condition, which is common among patients with chronic kidney disease and for which there are no approved treatments.  

The drug achieved a 68% reduction in itching compared to placebo after eight weeks of treatment and was well tolerated.

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So what

The latest development marks yet another positive development for investors in the last six months. While CR845 will soon enter the pivotal part B of the chronic kidney disease-associated pruritus trial, the study is not the most advanced in the company's pipeline.

As investors are well aware, Cara Therapeutics' stock has more than doubled since late 2016 on enthusiasm and optimism for the company's novel approach to treating chronic pain and postoperative pain. That includes CR845 and CR701, which are more selective at targeting certain nervous system receptors that trigger pain responses while sparing others that can cause debilitating side effects. If successfully commercialized, they could represent a new class of pain drugs that have little or no risk of depression, nausea, vomiting, and addiction liability.

Now what

Cara Therapeutics must now meet with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to design part B of the trial. But make no mistake, the latest results are very encouraging for the company and investors. That's especially true considering the potential market opportunity. Pruritus is most commonly associated with chronic kidney disease, which sees over 200,000 new cases in the United States every year. If the company becomes the first and only to have a long-term treatment option, then it could be handsomely rewarded.

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