Vifor Pharma & Cara Therapeutics Announce US FDA Approval of Injection for Treating Moderate-to-Severe Pruritus in Hemodialysis Patients
Cara Therapeutics and Vifor Pharma recently announced the US FDA has approved KORSUVA (difelikefalin) for injection for the treatment of moderate-to-severe pruritus associated with chronic kidney disease in adults undergoing hemodialysis . KORSUVA injection is a first-in-class kappa opioid receptor (KOR) agonist that targets the body’s peripheral nervous system. The KORSUVA injection new drug application (NDA) received Priority Review by the FDA, which is granted to therapies that, if approved, would offer significant improvements in the safety or effectiveness of the treatment, diagnosis, or prevention of serious conditions when compared to standard applications.
“The FDA approval of KORSUVA injection is a transformational milestone for Cara and a significant advancement for the substantial number of adult hemodialysis patients suffering from moderate-to-severe pruritus,” said Derek Chalmers, PhD, DSc, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cara Therapeutics. “We look forward to working closely with our commercial partner, Vifor Pharma, to launch KORSUVA injection in the US in the coming months. We extend our deepest gratitude to the patients who participated in our KALM-1 and KALM-2 clinical trials, the study investigators, and especially our employees, as their commitment through over 10 years of collective effort made this important milestone possible.”
“We are very excited about the FDA approval of KORSUVA injection,” said Abbas Hussain, Chief Executive Officer of Vifor Pharma “There is a significant unmet medical need for a targeted therapy, and we believe that KORSUVA™ injection can fundamentally change the treatment paradigm for adult CKD-aP patients undergoing dialysis. We are committed to bringing this first-in-class medicine to U.S. hemodialysis patients as fast as possible, together with our partner Cara Therapeutics.”
“We are pleased to see that KORSUVA injection has received FDA approval as the first treatment option approved for moderate to severe pruritus in adult CKD patients on hemodialysis,” commented Dr. Frank Maddux, Global Chief Medical Officer of Fresenius Medical Care, “Participating in the robust clinical trial program we have learned that KORSUVA™ injection represents an effective treatment option. We have seen substantial improvement in symptoms and meaningful relief for people suffering from severe and debilitating itch.”
This approval is based on the NDA filing that was supported by positive data from two pivotal Phase 3 trials – KALM-1, conducted in the US (New England Journal of Medicine 2020; 382:222-232), and the global KALM-2, as well as supportive data from an additional 32 clinical studies. KORSUVA injection was found to be generally well tolerated.
Vifor Pharma and Cara have agreed to an exclusive license to commercialize KORSUVA in the US. That agreement features a Cara 60%, Vifor Pharma 40% profit-sharing arrangement in non-Fresenius Medical Care clinics in the US. Under a previous agreement, Vifor Fresenius Medical Care Renal Pharma and Cara Therapeutics have agreed to market KORSUVA injection to Fresenius Medical Care North America dialysis clinics in the US under a Cara 50%, Vifor Pharma 50% profit-sharing arrangement.
Vifor Pharma and Cara Therapeutics are in the process of submitting the required documentation to the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to ensure timely reimbursement and patient access to KORSUVA injection. Vifor Pharma expects to begin promoting KORSUVA Injection in Q1 2022 with reimbursement expected in H1 2022, subject to CMS timelines.
Cara Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing new chemical entities designed to alleviate pruritus by selectively targeting peripheral kappa opioid receptors, or KORs. Cara is developing a novel and proprietary class of product candidates, led by KORSUVA (CR845/difelikefalin), a first-in-class KOR agonist that targets the body’s peripheral nervous system, as well as certain immune cells. In two Phase 3 trials, KORSUVA injection has demonstrated statistically significant reductions in itch intensity and concomitant improvement in quality of life measures in hemodialysis patients with moderate-to-severe chronic kidney disease-associated pruritus (CKD-aP). Oral KORSUVA has completed Phase 2 trials for the treatment of pruritus in patients with CKD and atopic dermatitis and is currently in Phase 2 trials in primary biliary cholangitis and notalgia paresthetica patients with moderate-to-severe pruritus.
Vifor Pharma Group is a global pharmaceuticals company. It aims to become the global leader in iron deficiency, nephrology and cardio-renal therapies. The company is a partner of choice for pharmaceuticals and innovative patient-focused solutions. Vifor Pharma Group strives to help patients around the world with severe and chronic diseases lead better, healthier lives. The company develops, manufactures and markets pharmaceutical products for precision patient care. Vifor Pharma Group holds a leading position in all its core business activities and consists of the following companies: Vifor Pharma and Vifor Fresenius Medical Care Renal Pharma (a joint company with Fresenius Medical Care). For more information, please visit viforpharma.com
KORSUVA is a kappa opioid receptor agonist developed in Cara laboratories and indicated for the treatment of moderate-to-severe pruritus associated with chronic kidney disease (CKD-aP) in adults undergoing hemodialysis (HD). KORSUVA Injection is not a federally controlled substance. Breakthrough Therapy Designation was received from the FDA for KORSUVA Injection for the treatment of CKD-aP in HD patients and the New Drug Application was evaluated by the FDA with Priority Review.
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