Is Cara Therapeutics About to Change How We Treat Pain?

By Motley Fool

Cara Therapeutics (NASDAQ: CARA) is working on a new pain-killing drug that works differently than traditional opioids, and that could make it a better option for patients suffering from chronic pain. Can Cara Therapeutics' CR845 become an important tool in reducing the opioid epidemic?

In this clip from The Motley Fool's Industry Focus: Healthcare podcast, Kristine Harjes and Todd Campbell discuss how this drug's novel mechanism of action differentiates it from traditional opioids such as Oxycontin.

Continue Reading Below

A full transcript follows the video.

10 stocks we like better than Cara TherapeuticsWhen investing geniuses David and Tom Gardner have a stock tip, it can pay to listen. After all, the newsletter they have run for over a decade, Motley Fool Stock Advisor, has tripled the market.*

More From

David and Tom just revealed what they believe are the 10 best stocks for investors to buy right now... and Cara Therapeutics wasn't one of them! That's right -- they think these 10 stocks are even better buys.

Click here to learn about these picks!

*Stock Advisor returns as of April 3, 2017

This video was recorded on April 12, 2017.

Kristine Harjes:The nextcompany we want to discuss is calledCara Therapeutics. This one,I don't think we've mentioned it onIndustry Focus. You cancorrect me if I'm wrong there. ButI know I mentioned it onMotley Fool Answers,if any of our listeners also listen to one of our other Motley Fool shows,on the April 4 episode, which was all about biotech investing. I mentioned it as a company thatI'm keeping my eye on that I'm excited about. This company has run up a ton this year,much like PaciraPharmaceuticals has. It seems to be really on the right track. Essentially, what it's doing is, it has this opioid compound that targets somethingcalled the kappa-opioid receptor. This isdifferent than the way that traditional opioids likemorphine work, because those target the mu-opioid receptor. Essentially, thedifference here is the drug that CaraTherapeutics is making doesn't crossthe blood-brain barrier. So it doesn't come with the side effect ofeuphoria that gives rise to abuse and addiction.

Todd Campbell:Right. All these painkillershave to go through trials to see how likely they are to be subject to abuse. When they did this trial on this drug, CR845, they basically ended up with placebo-like reports of drug liking and feeling high andwanting to take this drug again. So you have a drug that theoretically can deliver pain relief more closely to the source of the pain -- because, again, it's targeting these -opioid receptorslocated in the periphery of the body, and it's not passing the blood-brain barrier -- so you have placebo-likeeuphoria. That's a win-win. In March, last month, they reported some data from a mid-stage trialevaluating its use in dialysis patients whosuffer from a chronic itch,which is very frustrating and painful, and affects about 70% of the 456,000 people who are ondialysis. And sure enough, it reduced painsignificantly versus placebo. They're going to sit down and talk to the FDA, figure out what their processshould be for a phase 3 trial, andhopefully we'll get some more insight intohow they plan to do that phase 3 trial within the coming months.

Kristine Harjes has no position in any stocks mentioned. Todd Campbell has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.