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Here's Why Cara Therapeutics Rose 11.3% in July

By Maxx Chatsko – Aug 5, 2019 at 4:21AM

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The development-stage pharma company started an important clinical trial.

What happened

Shares of Cara Therapeutics (CARA 0.41%) rose over 11% last month, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence. The clinical-stage company announced multiple milestones for an oral formulation of its lead drug candidate, Korsuva.

In July, the oral formulation started a phase 2 study to evaluate its safety and effectiveness in treating pruritus (read: severe itching) in patients with atopic dermatitis (read: a condition marked by red and itchy skin). Cara Therapeutics also announced that an interim statistical review of a phase 2 study in pruritus in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) didn't require expanding the size of the trial, which stands at 240 patients. That suggests it's powered to deliver statistical significance and can remain on the original timeline for completion.

Shares would have ended the month even higher if not for a public stock offering that raised $145.5 million in gross proceeds at the end of July. The business ended March with $134 million in cash. 

A man in a suit drawing an ascending step chart.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Cara Therapeutics is developing Korsuva to treat itching in patients with CKD, chronic liver disease, and atopic dermatitis. The drug candidate crushed its most important phase 3 trial in late May, but that was for an injectable formulation aimed at CKD patients and is partnered with Fresenius Medical Care. The company is also developing a more convenient oral formulation of the drug candidate to treat a broader set of patient populations. Cara Therapeutics owns the global rights to the oral formulation.

Therefore, recent news that the three phase 2 clinical trials (including one that initiated in late June) for the oral formulation of Korsuva are progressing through development is giving investors even more to cheer about. That's also why the business decided to pad its balance with more cash, as the increased activity of the maturing pipeline will be expensive to manage.

Now what

Investors have rewarded Cara Therapeutics with a $1 billion market cap for its progress in recent years. The injectable formulation of Korsuva appears destined for marketing approval, and with the world's leading dialysis provider as a partner, it has the opportunity to get off to a fast start. It will be another year or two before investors can be as confident in the wholly owned oral formulation, but the business is on a promising trajectory.

Maxx Chatsko has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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