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Trial data help small biotech ready its anti-itch drug for approval

Cara’s hypothesis in developing Korsuva was that by acting on opioid receptors, the experimental drug could provide relief from itching without leading to addiction. Rather than stimulating the mu-opioid receptor, like morphine and other pain drugs with addictive potential, Korsuva activates kappa opioid receptors.

The global Phase 3 KALM-2 trial enrolled 473 patients to receive either Korsuva or a placebo after each dialysis session, with a goal of reducing the severity of their worst itch by at least three points on a 10-point scale. Of patients treated with Korsuva, 54% reported a three-point reduction, significantly more than the 42% taking placebo.

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