Cara Therapeutics Secures $19 Million in Series C Financing.
"I am very pleased with the outstanding group of international investors we have attracted to participate in Cara's Series C financing and look forward to working with them to advance our internal drug development pipeline", said Dr. Derek Chalmers, President & CEO of Cara Therapeutics. "Combined with cash already on-hand, this financing provides Cara with operating capital through 2008 and provides the runway necessary to advance our next two drug candidates into the clinic," he added.
Dr. Stephen Reeders commented "Over the last twenty years there has been little innovation in treating pain. There is a big gap in the choices available to clinicians between moderately efficacious OTC analgesics and centrally acting opiates with serious side effects. We believe that Cara Therapeutics is developing novel drugs to fill this gap."
"We are extremely excited about Cara's focus in pain and inflammation where major advances have been lacking for several decades," commented Ed Hurwitz of Alta Partners. "The company's truly differentiated kappa agonist, which is being tested in proof of concept studies, has the chance to substantially change the treatment options for acute and chronic pain sufferers. We found this opportunity along with the company's rapidly advancing programs on exciting novel pain and inflammation targets to be a compelling investment opportunity," added Hurwitz.
On January 5th of this year, Cara announced that it had entered into a worldwide licensing agreement with ALZA Corporation, a Johnson & Johnson company, for Cara's novel peripherally-acting pain drug candidate, CR665. Under the terms of that agreement, Cara received an upfront payment and is eligible to receive pre-determined clinical and regulatory milestone payments. Cara is also eligible to receive royalties on sales of all marketed products incorporating the compound, as well as an option to co-promote intravenous products in the U.S.
CR665 is the lead clinical development candidate from a series of highly selective peripheral kappa opioid receptor agonists. In preclinical studies, CR665 was highly selective for the peripheral kappa opioid receptor. Preclinical animal studies suggest that CR665 is a potent analgesic compound. In addition, unlike currently marketed opioids, CR665 does not produce inhibition of intestinal transit (ileus), induce respiratory depression, or elicit signs of euphoria or addiction in animal models. Preclinical studies also indicate that CR665 possesses anti-inflammatory activities.
A completed Phase 1a study of intravenous CR665 in healthy men and women indicated that the drug candidate was safe, well tolerated, and exhibited predictable pharmacokinetic characteristics. In addition, this study demonstrated plasma levels of CR665 associated with analgesic effects in preclinical studies, as well as biomarker evidence of peripheral kappa opioid receptor activation in both men and women.
About Cara Therapeutics
Cara Therapeutics is a privately held biotechnology company, originally seeded by Esperante Ventures, focused on developing novel, superior therapeutics to treat pain and inflammation associated with diverse medical conditions. Cara's current pipeline includes near-term clinical drug candidates within multiple classes of peripherally-acting analgesics. Cara also plans to develop entirely novel classes of analgesics that emerge from its proprietary DimerScreen(TM) technology.
Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Such forward-looking statements include statements relating to the therapeutic applications of CR665 and about Cara's strategy, technologies, pre-clinical and clinical programs, and ability to identify and develop drugs, as well as other statements that are not historical facts. Actual events or results may differ materially from Cara's expectations. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the timing, success and cost of Cara's research and clinical studies and Cara's ability to obtain additional financing. These forward- looking statements represent Cara's judgment as of the date of this release. Cara disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.
CONTACT: Derek Chalmers, President & CEO of Cara Therapeutics, +1-914-347-4040, Ext. 201