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Pain Therapy Developer Issues IPO, Raises $55 Million

Back pain (FDA)

(U.S. Food and Drug Administration)

31 January 2014. Cara Therapeutics Inc., a biotechnology company in Shelton, Connecticut, issued its initial public offering (IPO), raising some $55 million. The company issued 5 million shares of common stock, priced in the range of $11 to $13 a share. At noon ET today, the stock is priced at $13.38 a share on the NASDAQ exchange (symbol: CARA).

Cara Therapeutics develops medications to treat moderate to severe pain, which interact with kappa opioid receptors located on sensory nerves that transmit pain signals. Morphine is the best known drug addressing mu opioid receptors that also reside in sensory nerves, but it comes with serious side effects, including the risk of abuse and addiction.

The company’s lead product is code-named CR845 that stimulates kappa opioid receptors and exhibits both pain-killing and anti-inflammatory properties, without the addictive effects of morphine. The company completed tests of an intravenous form of the drug in intermediate-stage clinical trials to treat pain after hysterectomy and bunion surgery, with late-stage trials planned for later in 2014. An oral form of the drug is in early-stage trials.

Cara Therapeutics is also developing pain medications addressing cannabinoid or CB receptors, specifically CB2 receptors located in peripheral tissues; CB1 receptors are located in the brain. The company’s lead product, code-named CR701, is in preclinical research and targets CB2 receptors. CR701 is expected to be developed as a treatment for neuropathic pain, caused by damaged nerve fibers.

The company raised $43 million in venture capital from four financing rounds, the most recent in 2010, where it gained $15 million for continued clinical development of CR845.

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Hat tip: Fortune/Term Sheet

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