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Cara Therapeutics Stock Jumps; FDA Clears Severe-Itching Treatment

Cara was cleared by the FDA to market Korsuva to patients suffering from severe itching as a byproduct of dialysis for chronic kidney disease.
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Shares of Cara Therapeutics  (CARA) - Get Cara Therapeutics Inc Report jumped on Tuesday after the company said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared Korsuva, which treats moderate-to-severe itching in patients who are undergoing dialysis for chronic kidney disease. 

The Stamford, Conn., company expects to commercially launch the injection in the first quarter, Chief Executive Derek Chalmers told Reuters. 

Cara will work with a partner, Vifor Pharma GNHAY, to launch the Korsuva injection in the U.S. in the coming months, Chalmers said in a statement. 

Shares of Cara at last check jumped 9.7% to $15.67. They've traded on Tuesday up as much as 28% at $18.25. They touched a 52-week high $29.65 in early April. 

Vifor Pharma, the Swiss drugmaker, and Cara have agreed to an exclusive license to commercialize Korsuva. Cara and Vifor have a 60%-40% profit-sharing agreement, respectively. 

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The two companies are in the process of submitting the required documentation to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services "to ensure timely reimbursement and patient access" to Korsuva. 

Vifor expects to begin marketing Korsuva in the first quarter with reimbursement expected in the first half. 

Korsuva is designed to be administered three times a week after each dialysis session. It reduces the activity of the sensory nerve that relays itching from the skin to the spinal cord and the brain. 

The current treatments for severe itching for chronic disease patients are depressants such as barbiturates and allergy medication antihistamines, according to Reuters. 

Cara said it could price the drug similar to the $17,000 annual cost of Amgen's AMGN treatment, Parsabiv. 

Jefferies analyst Christopher Howerton estimates Korsuva will generate peak sales of about $900 million in 2030, according to Reuters.